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January/February 2004 | Volume 27 Number 1 | www.aivf.org 



contents 




Features 



44 SHOOTING UP WITH 16MM 

How one filmmaker became convinced that 
1 6mm is the perfect format for short films. 
[by Gadi Harel] 

46 DIGnAL INTERMEDIATES 

Independents are discovering the pros and 
cons of digital mastering-no longer just 
for cartoonish sci-fi or special effects. 
[by Paul Boutin] 

50 THE MEDIUM IS THE MAKER 

The cinematographers and directors of XX/XY, 
The Shape of Things and Blue Vinyl reveal 
low-budget techniques for compelling visuals. 
[by Elizabeth Angell] 

54 48 HOUR PICTURE PEOPLE 

The 48 Hour Film Project inspires creativity 
and turns out challenging films. 
[by Derek Loosvelt] 




Photos: A scene from Gadi Harel's film Nights Like These, 
about a dissatisfied shadow, was shot on 16mm (Emily 
Lemole); this archival photo was digitally remastered to cre- 
ate a scene in Nanette Burnstein and Brett Morgen's 2002 
Sundance hit, The Kid Stays in the Picture (Edgeworx); 
director of photography Uta Briesewitz, here on location in 
Baltimore, helped conceptualize and create the unique 
visuals for films Session 9, XX/XY and HBO's The Wire 
(Boots Shelton). 

Page 5 photos: Sam Chen's animated film Eternal Gaze is 
based on the life of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (Sam 
Chen); Jason DaSilva's Lest We Forget was funded by the 
Paul Robeson Fund (Jason DaSilva); Todd Stephens' Gypsy 
83 is about a Stevie Nicks fan who follows her dream (Small 
Planet Pictures); the short film Sock it to Me screened at the 
2003 S.N.O.B. Film Festival (Anna Christopher). 

On the Cover: A portrait from Sam Chen's animated biopic 
about Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (Sam Chen). 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 3 



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SAG has too many restrictions. 




SAG understands that low budget filmmakers don't have the same 
resources that the studios have, and will work with you so that you 
can make the film you want to make and still protect the actors. 



To find out more about how easy it is to work 
with professional actors visit: www.sagindie.org 

or call 323-549-6064 



contents 




glest we 

"orget 




Upfront 

7 EDITOR'S LETTER 

9 LETTERS TO THE EDrTOR 

1 1 NEWS Rhode Island's filmmaker-friendly 

Revival House; the "Bush in 30 Seconds" ad 
contest; The Film Festival Channel. 
[by Alyssa Worsham] 

1 5 FIRST PERSON Looking beyond standard 
social interest funding plans. 
[by Alyce Myatt] 

17 PROFILE Marc Johnson's Colorvision series 
showcases multicultural films and directors. 
[by Christine Schomer] 

2.1 PROFILE Sam Chen's Eternal Gaze animates 
sculptor Alberto Giacometti. 
[by Neil Kendricks] 

25 HELD REPORT Detroit, Michigan slowly 

becomes fertile ground for indie filmmakers. 
[by Matthew Miller] 

FUNDERFAQThe Paul Robeson Fund. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

DOC DOCTOR When to fly solo and when to 
enlist help; thoughts on the "digital revolution." 
[by Fernanda Rossi] 

35 ON VIEW Gypsy 83's obsession with Stevie 
Nicks; plus other work to watch for. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

SITE SEEING Locus Novus's unconventional tales. 
[by Leslie Harpold] 

42 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT New Hampshire's S.N.O.B. 
Fest throws open its doors. 
[by Rebecca Rule] 

Departments 

POLICY The FCC Showdown. 
[by Matt Dunne] 

58 TECHNOLOGY Aaton's Cantar & A-Minima. 
[by Greg Gilpatrick] 

80 THE LIST Some of our favorite shots. 
[by Jessica McDowell] 



Listings 

SO FESTIVALS 

65 FILMS/TAPES WANTED 

63 NOTICES 

72 CLASSIFIEDS 

AIVF 

75 AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
78 SALONS 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 5 




The Wyoming Film Office would like to host the premiere of your 
next independent film at the Rialto Theatre in Casper, WY. With 
our pristine scenery, financial incentives and small towns full of 
character, Wyoming offers endless options for your film project. 

To ve^uest- yoiAv Wyovniv^ Rim Pvo^ucHoh lv\cev\Hve 
Pvo^v^un Ca^A, ccWr c\dv f Ue Wyoming Rlw O-P-Pice. 

C^l 800-458-6657 
Ov VlslVwww.wyomingfilm.org 




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early 02.01.04 
final 03.15.04 



NEW FOR 2004 
SCREENWRITING COMPETITION 



www.aviff.com 



ttielndependent 

■ I FILM H. VIDEO MONTHLY 



Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 
|publi$her@aiirl.org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Carroll 

[editor@aiv1.org] 

Managing Editor: Shana Liebman 

(indepenrJenl@aivf.orB] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 
|jason@aiv1.org] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 
[suzyflood@holmail.com] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 

[josh@aivl.org] 

Editorial Interns: Jessica McDowell; 
Philip Pissas; Alyssa Worsham 

[jessye@aiv1.org; graphics@aiv1.org. alyssa@aiv1.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Pat Aufderheide, Maud Kersnowski, Bo Mehrad, 

Cara Mertes, Robert L. Seigel, Esq. 

Proofreader: Susan Freel 

[usinsusan@yahoo.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 

(212) 807-1400 x225; [displayads@aivt.org] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 
(212) 807-1400 x232; [veronica@aiv1.org] 

Classified Advertising: James Israel 
(212) 807-1400 x241; [classifieds@aiv1.org] 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 



POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

The Independent Rm&Video Month)/, 304 Hudson St., 

6 fl., New York, NY 10013 

The Independent Rim iVideoMonthl/ (ISSN 1077-8918) is published month- 
ly (except combined issues January/February and July/August) by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) dedicated 
to the advancement of media arts and artists. Subscription to the maga- 
zine is included in annual membership dues ($55/yr individual; $35/yr stu- 
dent; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr business/industry) paid to the 
Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), the national pro- 
fessional association of individuals involved in moving image media. Library 
subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: AIVF, 304 Hudson St., 6 fl., New York, NY 
10013, (212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; info@aivf.org. 

Periodical Postage paid at New York, New York 
and at additional mailing offices. 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Specialty Publications 



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Publication of The Independent is made possible in 
part with public funds from the New York State 
Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the National 
Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 



Publication of any ad in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement 
AIVF/ FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. All contents are 
copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints 
require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/ FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Alexander Spencer, 
deputy director; Sonia Malta, program director; Priscilla Grim, membership 
and advocacy director; James Israel, Bo Mehrad, information services asso- 
ciates; Greg Gilpatrick, technology consultant; Cynthia Carrion, Joseph 
Colista, Catherine Gulacsy interns; AIVF/FIVF legal counsel: Robert I. 
Freedman, Esq., Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF/FIVF Boards of Directors: Angela Alston, Liz Canner, 
Anne del Castillo, Paul Espinosa, Kyle Henry, Vivian Kleiman*. Reggie Life, 
Jim McKay", Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), Gail Silva", Sharan Sklar*. 
Valerie Soe*, Simon Tarr, Rahdi Taylor, Yolanda Thomas, Jim Vincent, Jane 
Wagner*, Bart Weiss. TDTF Board ol Directors only. 



© Foundation for Independent Video & Film, Inc. 2004 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 



6 The Independent | January/February 2004 




Editor's 
Letter 

Dear Readers, 
If it's January, 
you're likely at 
Sundance, get- 
ting ready to go 
to Sundance, or 
just back from 
Sundance. And, 
more than like- 
ly, so am I. With that in mind, as I was 
putting together this, our yearly 
January/February double issue, I 
thought to myself: What would I like 
to read while I'm waiting for the shut- 
tle into Park City after flying into Salt 
Lake City International Airport at an 
impossible hour? Or standing in an 
endless line at Eccles? Or waiting for a 
table at the ever and always over- 
crowded Morning Ray/Evening Star 
Cafe— which, in my opinion, if not for 
the huevos rancheros, might not be 
worth the wait at all. Or just kicking 
back in the condo, gearing up for a 
long night of networking, needle-nos- 
ing, rubber-necking, and general, over- 
all carousing? A good read, that's 
what. This way, for those of you not 
going to Sundance or picking up the 
issue while it's still on the stands in 
February, there's no love lost. It's 
still a good read; we're not mad at 
you for forgetting to read us in 
January; and you don't have to feel 
left out. This issue is also about, in 
vague terms, technology. 

I will be the first to admit that I know 
little to nothing about technology- 
film or otherwise. Luckily, I know some 
really smart people and great writers 
who do. Slate technology columnist 
Paul Boutin wrote a smashing piece on 
the digital intermediate phenomenon, 
somehow making the whole thing 
sound terribly appealing, interesting, 
cool, and useful. Boutin's article made 
me want to be a filmmaker. 

Freelance writer Elizabeth Angell 
takes a close look at three visually 
provocative films and offers a clear, 



spacious account of the relationship 
between a filmmaker and his or her 
DP, and how both can be defined by 
the medium they choose to work in. 
Independent media field consultant 
Alyce Myatt gives us bleeding-heart 
public policy and media-minded lib- 
eral artists reason to live, and to 
make more documentaries. And film- 
maker Gadi Harel gives guileless, 
frontline testimony on shooting with 
16mm— the good, the bad, and the 
weightlessness. 

Christine Schomer, a freelance 
writer and television producer, as well 
as a founder and former executive 
director of the Newport International 
Film Festival, profiles Marc Henry 
Johnson, the tall, dark, and persistent 
force behind the recently premiered 
American Public Television series 
Colorvision. While San Diego-based 
journalist Neil Kendricks profiles ani- 
mator Sam Chen and his animation 
cum obsession with the Swiss sculptor 
Alberto Giacometti. 

San Francisco writer and graphic 
designer, Leslie Harpold, gives us a 
tour of the ultra rad and cerebrally 
challenging experimental website 
LocusNovus.com. 

And finally, I'm especially delighted 
to introduce the first of a series of arti- 
cles on media policy that will appear 
over the course of the next five issues, 
written by Matt Dunne, Vermont state 
senator and founder of the Vermont 
Film Commission. 

I'd also like to take this opportuni- 
ty to invite and encourage letters to 
the editor. The sum, as they say, is 
only as good as its parts, and each of 
you who read The Independent is an 
integral part of this magazine's sum. 
Already in the short time I've been 
here, the feedback I've received from 
readers has been insightful, hearten- 
ing, and completely valuable. 

Thanks for your support, 

Rebecca Carroll, 

Editor-in-Chief 

editor@aivf.org 



Global, 
Total 
overag 




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you will receive 24/7 access to 
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To take advantage of this offer 
log on to: www.subnow.com/ 
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January/February 2004 | The Independent 7 



In Hollywood's Backyard 



WEST 



Santa 



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The 24th Annual 

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25 February - 3 March 2004 / Santa Monica 




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Strategic Partners 



Letters to the Editor 

READERS RESPOND TO PAST ISSUES 



Dear Editor, 

I am a documentary filmmaker and 
screenwriter, a member of AIVF, an edi- 
tor at Vogue, former Senior Editor of 
Film Comment, and Jewish. For the first 
time in my life I feel compelled to write 
a letter to the editor to express how 
insulting and offensive I found your 
November 2003 cover. I must clarify 
that I am not offended by The Hebrew 
Hammer itself; its subject, content, and 
context are clear. I also understand that 
The Hebrew Hammer is a film reflected 
in your magazine's contents. But the 
image you have chosen from the film 
and your cover design— a prominent 
Jewish star (echoed by two others in the 
background) adjacent to the large text 
MONEY MATTERS plays into one of 
the world's oldest and most degrading; 
stereotypes of Jewish people. As some- 
one who represents imagemakers for a 
magazine that represents imagemakers, 
you have firsthand 
awareness of the 
power of the visual 
image— especially in its 
juxtaposition with 
text— and it is incon- 
ceivable in this day and 
age there could be 
such an oversight, or 
such a conscious 
choice for cover. Only 
through some search- 
ing through your 
pages does the reader 
discover that the 
image on your cover 
relates to an article in your magazine 
(your TOC never mentions The Hebrew 
Hammer, and leaves one guessing why 
this film was even chosen to represent 
your publication) and how, and only 
then does this "visual pun" become 
(barely) apparent. Had your cover 
played/preyed upon any other minority 
stereotype, I would have been equally 




offended and aghast. We imagemakers 
have a responsibility to challenge stereo- 
types not reinforce them. As a filmmak- 
er, a journalist who has focused on the 
representation of minorities in the film 
and media for Vibe, Rolling Stone, and 
numerous other publications, and a 
human being, I am appalled and, frankly, 
speechless, at your magazine's unaware- 
ness and irresponsibility. For what it 
is worth, my coworkers at Vogue echo 
my sentiments. 

Sincerely, 
Madame Glicksman 

Dear Marlaine Glicksman, 
We appreciate your taking the time to let 
us know how you felt about the cover of 
our November issue. And you are correct 
that as a representative of imagemakers, 
The Independent has a significant respon- 
sibility to be aware of the images we pres- 
ent, as well as the messages these images 
convey. When we 
chose the Hebrew 
Hammer shot for the 
cover, we had no 
intention of perpetu- 
ating any stereotypes. 
Instead, the cover, like 
all of our covers, is a 
link to one of the fea- 
tures about funding 
independent film and 
is captioned on page 3. 
This article focuses on 
the financial produc- 
tion of The Hebrew 
Hammer, a film that 
consciously exploits Jewish stereotypes 
using cartoonish figures. Our association 
of an absurdist Jewish gangster and the 
words "Money Matters" were playing on 
the ironies in the film. However, we deeply 
regret that this offended you and we wel- 
come your feedback. 

Sincerely, 
The Independent 




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January/February 2004 | The Independent 9 



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Don't tell Bennett Miller that tape is tape. "When I did my first documentary 
seven years ago on mini-DV tape, there was quite a bit of dropout," Miller 
says. "Almost every tape had some problem on it, even if it was just a couple 
of tiny pixels." 



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Miller shot his latest project on Sony 1 DigitalMaster" 
tape, designed for all mini-DV and DVCAM" 
camcorders. "We just threw these tapes in plastic 
bags in an RV where it was 100 degrees. 
We schlepped the tapes around for months. 
There wasn't a single dropout anywhere." 

DigitalMaster tape is unique. It's the only 
professional videotape with not one but two 
active magnetic layers. You'll get 90% fewer 
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especially important if your recordings are 
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And fewer errors today mean fewer 
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The Revival House 

RHODE ISLAND MAKES SPACE FOR FILMMAKERS 
By Alyssa Worsham 



n November 4, 2003, The 

O Revival House, a fifty- 
seat cinema and cafe 
located in Westerly, 
Rhode Island, opened its newly reno- 
vated doors to the public. Daniel 
Kamil and Emily Steffian, husband 
and wife, converted the former hard- 
ware store into a venue for classics, 
documentaries, and independent film 
and video. Not only does the theater 
screen new and old classics, but the 
owners also encourage individual sub- 
missions from filmmakers who want a 
chance to show their work outside of 
the festival circuit— and get paid for it. 
Featured filmmakers receive all the 
money from the door sales. 

Kamil, a filmmaker, and Steffian, a 
visual artist, originally wanted to open a 
similar venue in LA, where the couple 
lived for several years, using a model 
like the combination restaurant/the- 
ater Foreign Cinema in San Francisco. 
"But we wanted to tweak it in a way that 
suited our interests, which were reno- 
vating an old building, showing inde- 



The Revival House provides a screen- 
ing room and cafe for Rl filmmakers. 



pendent film and older American films, 
and running counter to the exhibition 
industry," says Kamil. Ultimately, the 
couple decided to move back east to be 
near their families. After downtown 
Providence didn't work out, they found 
the small beach community of 
Westerly. Having located the perfect 
building (actually two store fronts), the 
couple did the demolition and painting 
themselves, and they now live in an 
upstairs loft in the 2,500 square foot 
space. 

The space itself is both conceptually 
and visually impressive— the Department 
of the Interior placed the restored "com- 
mercial Victorian" building on the 
National Register of Historic Places— 
and for the centerpiece of the theater, 
the lobby mural, the couple commis- 
sioned Katharine Lovell, an ex-studio 
mate of Steffian's, who teaches at 
RISD. "The curved center wall con- 
tains windows from all of our old 
houses, and we asked her to paint 
around them," explains Kamil. "It's 
really stunning." They also reused 
much of the wood in the 170-year-old 
building and went dumpster-diving 
outside the LA public library to get 



their bathroom wallpaper. An old 
card catalogue gives patrons some- 
thing to read when they visit the rest- 
room. "This theatre is about reviving 
older things, things that have been 
neglected," says Kamil, "and the 
importance of incorporating newer 
things into that. Everything that we 
could reuse, we have reused within 
the space." 

During the summer, chairs and 
tables will be placed outside The 
Revival House, as the theater is locat- 
ed along the town's river. Every aspect 
of the business has been carefully con- 
sidered—the cafe serves paninis, can- 
dies, and specialty beverages, includ- 
ing wine, which patrons can enjoy in 
the cafe or inside the theater. Kamil 
and Steffian even hired a classically 
trained French chef who specializes in 
innovative chocolates, which may con- 
tain wasabi, sesame, chili peppers, 
curry, or saffron. "We can tie [these 
flavors] into Kurosawa films or Indian 
films— there are thematic projects 
we'd like to try," says Kamil. For now 
films are grouped by director, usually 
three in a series. In November and 
December, Revival House showed 
films by Billy Wilder, John Huston, 
Milos Forman, Alfred Hitchcock, John 
Frankenheimer, Michael Moore, 
Steven Frears, Frank Capra, and 
Stanley Kubrick. 

"There are people starving for great 
film," says Kamil, "and we wanted to fill 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 11 



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that niche. We want filmmakers to send 
whatever they have— we are begging for 
submissions. The game almost seems 
rigged, as there is no access other than 
film festivals. Venues are not risking 
showing individual films, and we want 
to support the independent film move- 
ment as much as we can." 

For more information go www.revivalhouse.net 

Bush in 
30 Seconds 

Last fall, to motivate voters for the 
upcoming 2004 presidential elec- 
tions, the online advocacy group 
MoveOn.org sponsored a contest 




called "Bush in 30 Seconds," in which 
any mediamaker could submit a thir- 
ty-second commercial that told "the 
truth about George Bush." The ads 
were posted on the "Bush in 30 
Seconds" website (www.bushin30sec 
onds.org) between December 15-30, 
2003, during which time visitors 
could vote for their favorite entries. 
Once the online votes were tallied, a 
high-profile panel of judges— includ- 
ing Moby, Michael Moore, Gus Van 
Sant, Jack Black, Margaret Cho, 
Janeane Garofalo, and Eddie 
Vedder— chose the winner. At press 
time, the winning commercial is set 
to air as part of a television advertis- 
ing campaign during the week of the 
2004 State of the Union address. 
"For the last three years, President 



Musician Moby is one of the sponsors 
and judges of the "Bush in 30 
Seconds" commercial contest. 



Bush's policies have ransacked the 
environment, put our national securi- 
ty at risk, damaged our economy, and 
redistributed wealth from the middle 
class to the very wealthiest Americans. 
Yet thanks to a complacent media, 
the president has managed to hide 
behind a carefully constructed 'com- 
passionate' image. As the 2004 elec- 
tion nears, it's crucial that voters 
understand what President Bush's 
policies really mean for our country," 
explained the website. While the ads 
were supposed to challenge a current 
policy in an "informative, memorable, 
and creative way," contestants were 
not allowed to "expressly advocate the 
election or defeat of any candidate." 
Aside from a few other minor rules, 
the contest encouraged participants 
to be as creative as they liked— anima- 
tion, rants, live action, and silent 
films were all permitted. 

Voters and judges used four crite- 
ria to determine the finalists and the 
winner: overall impact (forty per- 
cent), originality (twenty percent), 
memorable content and delivery 
(twenty percent), and clear message 
(twenty percent). 

The contest was developed and run 
by Laura Dawn, David Fenton, Eli 
Pariser, Lee Solomon, Moby, and 
Jonathan Soros to seek out new talent 
and messages in the otherwise main- 
stream realm of political advertising. 
In addition to posting a recommend- 
ed reading list regarding Bush's poli- 
cies, the organizers provided their 
seven top reasons for launching their 
contest. In short, they criticized 
Bush's policies on the following: the 
Iraq war, the environment, education, 
the Patriot Act, tax cuts, unemploy- 
ment, and homeland security. 

Film Festival 
Channel 

The rapidly growing digital cable 
industry has made it possible for the 
new Film Festival Channel to allow 
unprecedented exposure for new and 
unknown filmmakers. The Channel 



began accepting submissions in 
September. They asked filmmakers 
for features, shorts, or documentaries, 
and a nominal fee based on the length 
of their project. The films chosen by 
FFC will be broadcast in Summer 
2004 by satellite, cable, or other digi- 
tal transmissions. Local channel list- 
ings will also be announced at that 
time. FFC viewers will be able to vote 
for their favorite films via internet, 
phone, or mail, and while the winners 
will not receive a monetary prize, FFC 
has a distribution model that will help 
promote the films to other venues. 

Contestants are required to enter 
under one of the following categories: 
comedy, drama, documentary, science 
fiction, action, thriller, animated, for- 
eign, alternative edge (includes NC-17 
rated films, but no porn is permitted), 
and winner's circle (in house or festi- 
val winners chosen by FFC). In addi- 
tion to showcasing films, the FFC will 
produce a behind-the-scenes show 
about the running of FFC, and fea- 
tures about filmmakers, writers, and 
directors. D 

See www.filmfestivalchannel.com 



Alyssa Worsham is an intern at 
The Independent. 



CORRECTIONS 

We regret the following errors in the 
December issue: 

In "The Nuances of Film Editing," we 
reported that Sam Pollard wrote, 
directed, and produced The Rise and 
Fall of Jim Crow, when in fact Richard 
Wormser was the originator, co- 
writer/director of the series. The exec- 
utive producers were Bill Grant and 
Bill Jersey-who also co-wrote/direct- 
ed the series. 

In "Cowboy Rides into the Sunset," 
Alex Smith and Andrew Smith's film 
The Slaughter Rule was incorrectly 
identified as Slaughterhouse Rules. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 13 






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Lender Bender 

BEYOND PUBLIC INTEREST FUNDING 
By Alyce Myatt 



've been lucky. While I have had 
what some might call a pretty zig- 
zaggy career, it is a career that has 
afforded me a unique view of the 
documentary field. An introduction to 
Third World Newsreel in 1969 led to 
stints in commercial television, public 
television, media philanthropy, new 
media, even newer media, and the new- 
for-the-moment-oops-now-old new 
media. Regardless of who was signing 
the checks, though, I'm proud to be 
able to say that all of my experiences 
have been within the realm of social 
interest media. I'm not going to lie 
though; it hasn't been easy. Sometimes 
moving a project forward has seemed 
almost impossible (sometimes making 
the next month's rent has seemed 
almost impossible, too). But, I've found 
that you can often come up with alter- 
native routes to complete your work, 
get it in front of an audience, and, ide- 
ally, make a positive impact on society. 
Looking over the past thirty or so 
years of my career, it does strike me 
that there are patterns in time, events, 
and process. One of the positive things 
about getting older is that you can 
actually begin to recognize those pat- 
terns. For example, it's important to 
remember that this isn't the first time 
the documentary field has been broke, 
which it is. It isn't the first time that 
filmmakers committed to casting light 
on important issues have faced closed 
doors at distribution outlets, which 
they do, time and time again. And, it 
isn't the first time that political events 
in this country, and around the globe, 
have sparked outrage. 

I'm not going to wander down the 
halls of the old school, but I will sug- 
gest that it is useful for you and your 
work as a social interest documentary 
maker to be familiar with the conflu- 



ence of events in the late 60s and early 
70s: the war, the political climate, and 
the impact of changing technology. 
For example, the creation of mag 
striped film did away with double-sys- 
tem shooting, quickly replaced by 
portable videotape, which began its 
own evolution— all allowing filmmak- 
ers greater agility in the field and 
quicker turnaround time in post-pro- 
duction. Such seismic events created 
change for filmmakers not just in the 
United States, but in Europe, Latin 
America, and within the Pan-African 
movement. There are not only films, 
but media organizations that exist as a 
direct result of those extraordinary 
times and that environment. 

I think my protean existence has 
given me the opportunity to cultivate 
not only a historical perspective but 
also a fairly wide view of who's doing 
what, how, and how well. Despite the 
financial difficulties all mediamakers 
are experiencing now, and despite it 
being a very disquieting time in our 
nation's history, believe it or not, there 
are some very good things to report 
and consider. 

I have had the privilege of engaging 
in several informal conversations with 
funders and they, too, are concerned 
about the health of the social issue doc- 
umentary field: the diversity of voices, 
the quality of storytelling, and the need 
to reach audiences— all essential to sup- 
port a strong, democratic nation. Like 
you and me, they find themselves in a 
situation of limited and, in some cases, 
reduced funding, whether from gov- 
ernment sponsored support or private 
foundations. And because dollars are 
tight, funders are often subjected to a 
higher burden of proof for each and 
every grant they seek to issue. I think 
it's important for filmmakers to realize 



that the grantmakers are sincerely 
developing creative ways to keep, and 
where possible increase, the dollars 
flowing into the field. We all know that 
no one is going to fund your project 
based solely on the fact that you, as a 
filmmaker, think it's important. These 
days everybody needs to see measura- 
ble outcomes. Therefore, you have to 
help the funder make the argument 
that your project is central to further- 
ing the stated goals and objectives of 
the funding organization. 

Sometimes that requires the reposi- 
tioning of your project— not changing 
your content or storytelling style, just 
talking about your project in a differ- 
ent way. So, instead of making a film 
about, say, domestic violence, make a 
film that serves as a "communications 
tool comprised of a film and educa- 
tional print materials to be broadcast 
and disseminated through partner 
organizations that specialize in domes- 
tic violence issues." That's no different 
than a film with an outreach project, 
but it has the ability to resonate with 
foundations that would otherwise not 
normally fund a film, but that do pro- 
vide financial support for projects 
focusing on specific issues. A slight 
recalibration of language surrounding 
your project can provide traditional 
media-funders with the ammunition 
they need to convince their organiza- 
tions that your project will have an 
impact on society. 

One of the great differences between 
today's world and that of thirty years 
ago is that there are organizations that 
can help you frame your work and cre- 
ate tools that will extend the impact of 
your project— Active Voice, medi- 
arights.org, and Working Films, to 
name a few. This is a significant 
change, and it is important to take 
advantage of their expertise. ATvT and 
mediarights.org offer an outreach 
toolkit, and a number of organizations 
that serve the field now have work- 
shops and panels on how to create 
community engagement campaigns 
and how to strengthen your project to 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 15 




ATHENS 

International 

FILM& 

VIDEO 

FESTIVAL 

April 23-29, 2004 

CALL FOR 
ENTRIES! 

Deadline 02/20/04 

Entry Form on the Web@: 

www.athensfest.org 



phone: 740-593-1330 
fax: 740-597-2560 
email: bradley@ohiou.edu 

P.O. BOX 388 
75 W.Union, Rm 407 
Athens, Ohio 45701 



have grearer resonance. 

Anocher relatively new phenomenon 
is that there are now multiple places 
where you can go to talk about not just 
film, but the impact that certain films 
are having on a specific communitv. 
the country as a whole, or even around 
the world. For example, the Center for 
Social Media at American University 
and the NYU Center for Media, 
Culture, and History have year-round 
programs of screenings and discus- 
sions. These efforts are helping to 
increase the visibility of work and can 
help you think through how you might 
approach your own project. 

What I don't feel I'm hearing 
enough about, however, is the "art" of 
documentary making. Often when a 
filmmaker is working on an issue- 
driven film he or she may short 
change the artistry. 

2003 brought us Travis Wilkerson's 
documentary film. An Injury to One, 
which deconstructed the documentary 
form. Judith Helfand has perfected the 
seamless integration of humor into her 
films that tackle very serious and com- 
plex themes. We must remind our- 
selves that while there is a business to 
making and marketing films, social 
issue filmmakers belong to the com- 
munitv' of artists. Artists and their 
forms do get into ruts (yes, it's a direct 
result of market forces), but I would 
love to see the art form move forward 
in a major way. The successful work of 
Wilkerson and Helfand will, hopefully, 
spark the imagination of others. 

These are difficult times. But what's 
most important to remember is that 
no matter what, as a filmmaker you are 
first and foremost a storyteller, and 
your stories must be told. If they are 
told well, they will find an audience- 
even if it means working and existing 
m the margins. Warrington Hudlin, 
founder and chief of dvRepublic.org, 
and president of the Black Filmmakers 
Foundation, maintains that the mar- 
gins can be a position of strength. "The 
key is not to confuse the 'margin' of 
access to the dominant media plat- 



forms with having a 'marginal' story. 
Independent filmmakers are attracted 
to the core of our nation's most com- 
pelling stories, but are then relegated 
to the margin of media access in telling 
them. Conversely, the mainstream 
media platform is wasted on American 
myth, fantasy, and denial," says 
Hudlin. I tend to agree with him. 
Filmmakers need to be aware of that 
positioning and work tactically to use 
it rather than fight against it. A great 
example of this is Mark Moskowitz's 
documentary The Stone Reader, where 
Moskowitz organized a series of the- 
atrical screenings across the country— 
literally booking the film market by 
market, very often in fringe timeslots. 
His film created such a buzz about the 
out-of-print book that its story is based 
on, that the book was picked up by a 
major publisher and reprinted, which 
in turn pushed the sales of Mark's film 
on DVD. It's a great success story, with 
strategy and tactics that can serve as a 
template for others. 

I believe that it's important for a film 
not just to be seen, but to serve as a cat- 
alyst for change. As a filmmaker, if 
you're concerned about the current 
state of things— funding, distribution, 
global turmoil, paying your rent— I 
believe that it is within your power to 
effect change. Through your work, yes, 
but also through advocacy, activism, 
and general hell-raising. As in the 60s 
and 70s, it requires people to band 
together to make things happen. Back 
then, activist efforts changed arts fund- 
ing and the production process, influ- 
enced domestic public policy, and, in 
some cases, changed the world by put- 
ting a face on issues and individuals 
previously excluded from the main- 
stream media. D 

Active Voice: www.activevoice.net 
Working Films: www.workingfilms.org 
Media Rights: www.mediarights.org 
Outreach Toolkit: www.mediarights.org/toolkit 

Aiyce Myatt is a consultant to 

the independent media field and the 

multimedia editor of OneW'orld TV, 

http: tv.oneworld.net. 



16 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



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profile 



Colorvision 



MARC JOHNSON'S ENLIGHTENING NEW SERIES 
By Christine Schomer 




arc Henry Johnson, 
executive producer and 
chief visionary of the 
newly premiered public 
television series Colorvision, is a passion- 
ate advocate for fair and balanced repre- 
sentation of minority cultures on our 
airwaves and movie screens. Disarmingly 
affable, Johnson is also politically savvy, 
articulate, and inclusive-minded. With 
Colorvision, an interesting, if at 
times overly ambitious, showcase 
of short films and their filmmak- 
ers, Johnson has found a place 
and a way to apply his unique 
sensibility. 

Johnson, whose previous 
work as a producer includes the 
award-winning film The Huey P. 
Newton Story for HBO, adapted 
from a stage performance by 
Roger Guenveur Smith and 
directed by Spike Lee, explains 
that his film and television 
interests go back to a crucial 
moment in college where, as an under- 
graduate at Cornell and recent trans- 
plant from the school's engineering 
department to its theatre and film 
department, he took his first film his- 
tory survey course. The course includ- 
ed a screening of D.W. Griffiths' Birth 
of a Nation, and Johnson remembers 
that the class discussion focused more 
on the film's cinematic influence than 
its racism and historical revisionism. 
Although his first impulse was to bolt 
back to the clear boundaries of engi- 
neering, Johnson decided instead to 
stick it out with a promise to himself 
that he would, "find a way for the 
voices of my community to get their 
stories told." 

If you've ever tried spitting in the 

< Colorvision's producer Marc Johnson. 



wind, you probably know what it feels 
like to be a filmmaker of short films. 
Considering that the medium has few 
distribution outlets, no financing 
options (save inheritances, credit cards, 
and wealthy relatives), and razor-thin 
chances that the final product will end 
up in the hands of someone who can 
actually kick-start your career or your 
financial independence, it hardly 




screams mainstream opportunity out- 
let. So when Colorvision, which was 
funded by the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting, The Ford Foundation, 
and ITVS, hits American Public 
Television (APT) in January, with its 
mission to create a national venue for 
African American, Asian American, 
Native American, Latino, and Pacific 
Islander filmmakers to screen their 
short films and create a dialog on race 
and culture, you may feel the impulse 
to give your head a scratch. That is to 
say, when the medium itself is margin- 
alized, under-funded, under-appreciat- 
ed and misunderstood, at what point 
does the hair split so fine that only a 
barber would give a damn? 

The ultimate goal for Colorvision, 
though, Johnson maintains, goes 
beyond the series itself, further specify- 



ing that his hope is to generate enough 
revenue to found and support a studio 
for independents. That kind of cash, 
however, has to come from a main- 
stream economic infrastructure that 
sees a bottom line profit opportunity. 
With other producing projects in vari- 
ous stages of development and com- 
pletion, including a documentary on 
black filmmakers, a TV series on the 
history of Latino baseball, and Rodney 
Evans' 2004 Sundance entry Brother to 
Brother, Johnson is not a novice in the 
industry, and understands well that 
the fact of his being a one-man equal 
opportunity impresario is largely why 
the unique and admittedly risky ven- 
ture of Colorvision has any legs at 
all. To wit, he has taken a deceiv- 
ingly passive route with the 
series by taking confrontational 
material and wrapping it 
around Softball segments and 
soft-focus patter from a recog- 
nizable minority host. The real 
meat of racial and cultural iden- 
tity is in the short films them- 
selves, where it should be. 

As a producer, Johnson has 
worked with such cultural mael- 
stroms as Michael Moore and 
Spike Lee, as well as less contro- 
versial outlets like PBS, The Learning 
Channel, and Discovery. Although the 
original idea for Colorvision was con- 
ceived of by a multi-cultural consortia 
looking to get their communities' pro- 
gramming on television, the series is 
Johnson's first production as auteur— 
it's his baby from start to finish, which, 
Johnson concedes, has been both excit- 
ing and daunting. He recalls that the 
day after the project was approved he 
felt the full scale of its weight come 
crashing down on him, briefly turning 
his enthusiasm to paralyzing anxiety. 
But after a night in the Mojave Desert 
with friends under an intense meteor 
shower, he had, he says with a sheepish 
laugh, a vision: "We could put 
Colorvision together and make the most 
of it [by augmenting] the films with 
these originally produced, hosted seg- 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 17 




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Washington. DC 

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merits, which string it along and high- 
light the themes and give you a pool of 
talent and, hopefully, the audience will 
come back week after week and see 
what they are up to." 

And so it came to pass. The two- 
year journey culminates with six hour- 
long episodes hosted in a TV maga- 
zine format. The series host is J. Lo's 
late 80's doppelganger, Daisy Fuentes, 
and the short films are broken up bv 
light-hearted segments hosted by a 
melange of multicultural talking 
heads in fish-out-of-water scenarios. 
For example, in episode three, Kate 
Rigg. a quick-witted Canadian come- 
dian with Indonesian roots, dives into 
the current craze of three-minute dat- 
ing parties in an effort to gauge the 
ethnic diversity of the mainstream 
singles scene. And in one of the series' 
few self-generated segments where 
racial tension is a palpable presence 
between host and community. Marc 
Anthony Thompson, a dynamic. 
Panamanian born African American 
extrovert (who also happens to be the 
series composer) takes a trip to New 
York City's Puerto Rican Day parade, 
where his non-Puerto Rican presence 
briefly raises hackles. The six episodes 
are divided up into universal themes: 
"Heroes," "Dreams." "Identity," 
"Love," "Rage," and "Death," respec- 
rively. The films run the gamut of 
experimental non-narrative to 
Hollywood-lite; crude to eloquent; 
stiff to poetic; technically complex to 
barely competent. 

The twenty-three films featured in 
the series were culled from over 500 
submissions that came through the 
casting of a wide net— Johnson solicited 
from film festivals, museum curators, 
film departments at universities, and 
film agents. While he already had long- 
standing connections to the African 
American film and television commu- 
nitv. he had to take a crash course in the 
four other less familiar cultural identi- 
ties, which drew for him an interesting 
conclusion. "I realized that if you put 
those five groups together (African 



American, Asian American, Pacific 
Islands, Latino and Native American) 
all of a sudden they are not a minority 
group— together they are a majority. 
From that point of view it kind of light- 
ened things up and allowed me to look 
for good stories. Which in the end, 
that's what it's about." 

The end game, as far as Johnson is 
concerned, for Colorvision or any other 
of his forthcoming projects, is not just 
in giving airtime to minorities, but in 




changing the infrastructure that eval- 
uates and finances the future work of 
the directors. He credits promising 
models of institutional diversity with- 
in public broadcasting itself, as well as 
divisions within HBO. the Ford 
Foundation, and ITYS. although he 
sees perpetual stagnation within the 
larger outlets. He explains, "The result 
of the [last] census [demonstrated] a 
changing face of the American public. 
Media ultimately is for the people and 
it should reflect the people. That 
might sound idealistic but I think a 
problem is that the media— i.e. studios 
and networks— are the last bastion of 
the old boys network." 

Johnson admits that progress in 
front of the camera has been notable 
(black and Latino sitcoms, for exam- 
ple), even though he strongly adheres to 
the notion that any real change will 
only occur when network, studio, and 
cable executives who greenlight projects 
are themselves representative of our 
national diversity. Johnson says that in 
the five-year process of seeking funding 
for The Huey P. Newton Story, he never 

Colorvision's host Daisy Fuentes. 



18 The Independent | January/February 2004 



once sat across from a black executive 
who could sign a check. "I pitched all 
these young white guys and they'd be 
like, 'Okay, what's this Huey Lewis 
thing you got?'" He laughs about the 
curious phenomenon within studios 
that have created "diversity depart- 
ments," adding, "Why don't you just 
hire a VP of production who happens 
to be Latino? Or a VP of Development 
or Creative Affairs who happens to be 
black or Native American? It seems like 
a real waste of resources . . . but it's 
something that they can point out and 
say, 'hey, we have black executives ... in 
the diversity department.'" 

There are inevitable gaps in a six- 
episode series with such a broad man- 
date as Colorvision— perhaps the most 
glaring of which is that the patronage 
of the consortia inevitably generates a 
series that represents a rather neat 
assemblage of cultures, and it is that 
very oversimplification that denies the 
viewer a window into how complexly 
the American identity is tied up in its 
native and immigrant experiences. 
Which, one could ar^ue, creates the 
very sort of economic tit-for-tat that 
Johnson hopes to defy (i.e. mainstream 
cash buys the programming it wants to 
see). And what is most obviously 
absent (save a Palestinian character in 
The Satellite Shooters) is the Arab point of 
view, a culture at the forefront of dis- 
enfranchisement and misunderstand- 
ing on a global scale. Johnson brushes 
off these observations, explaining that 
he was randomly selective since obvi- 
ously no show could ever claim to rep- 
resent every culture, and this series rep- 
resents the best of what they screened. 
In fact, he suggests the only way 
Colorvision could get any broader would 
be to consider foreign films, which is 
where he hopes to take the show if it 
gets picked up for another season. 

Potential faults and criticism aside, 
Colorvision is a solid first step in the 
post-affirmative-action world of cul- 
ture identity, and it says a lot about 
Johnson's skills as a producer that he 
has managed to adequately represent 




January/February 2004 | The Independent 19 



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such a dynamic panoply of identities 
through these twenty-three short 
films. But can this dialog and format 
affect the larger public, beyond 
American Public Television and PBS's 
reach? Is there new ground here, not 
yet covered? Johnson ambitiously 
aspires not only to get his show fran- 
chised in Europe, where minority cul- 
ture is fraught with a sea change of new 
hostility around the tide of immigrants 
from the African colonies, but also to 
seek out the newest means of distribu- 
tion and broadcasting, through tech- 
nological innovations like satellite and 
HD. And in terms of programming 
innovations, some of the films in the 
series do challenge the viewers' 
assumptions about other people and 
the simultaneously protective and iso- 
lating nature of community, through 
good storytelling and filmmaking. 

Johnson's plans for an as yet uncon- 
firmed second season of Colorrision 
include themes on family and hus- 
tling—segments like a Cowboy-Indian 
poetry showdown and the separate 
black and white Thomas Jefferson 
family reunions. But for now, his focus 
remains on his high hopes for the 
series debut this January. Because the 
series is offered by APT. it is not on the 
PBS schedule, and Johnson has lob- 
bied tirelessly to impress affiliate sta- 
tions and seize precious time slots, the 
last leg of the production process that 
manv show creators leave for others to 
sort out, either because they lack the 
savw to pursue it. or the production 
has worn them out. And Johnson is 
convinced that if he can appeal to the 
local markets and build an audience 
on his own, he can create a demand 
that will ultimately penetrate the 
mainstream. Because the goal, he says, 
is not to win viewers by pegging inter- 
est to the minority content, per se— he 
wants to expand on the "majorirv" 
experience. "Revelations about the cul- 
ture we call America," says Johnson. 
"That's what we set out to do." D 

Christine Schonwr is .i freelance writer 
and television producer in New York City. 



20 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



profile 



Sam Chen 



COMPUTER-ANIMATED BIOPIC STRIKES A CHORD 
By Neil Kendricks 



ftenrimes an independ- 
ent filmmaker requires 
the support of an army 
of many— actors and 
crew— to nurture his or her film into 
fruition. In the case of director-pro- 
ducer Sam Chen's computer-animat- 
ed short film Eternal Gaze, a biopic on 
the life and art of Swiss sculptor 
Alberto Giacometti, the required sup- 
port came down to an army of one. 

Chen, a San Diego based animator 
and a graduate of UCLA's computer 
science program, wrote, directed, 
designed, and edited Eternal Gaze, 



to more festivals with the film, which 
qualified for Academy Award consid- 
eration in November. 

An Oscar nomination would do 
wonders for any filmmaker's career, 
but Chen, who cites Pixar-pioneer 
John Lasseter as a major influence, did 
not make such a complicated film 
with the sole intent of using it as a 
calling card. When asked what he had 
learned through the making of Eternal 
Gaze, Chen is candid about how 
deeply personal the film is to him, 
especially after dedicating the last 
three years of his life to completing 



The age-old issue of artistic truth is a 
central theme in Chen's film. From the 
film's opening moments, the viewer 
crosses the threshold into Giacometti's 
studio to find the sculptor hard at 
work, trying to express the inner tur- 
moil that is suggested by his illuminat- 
ing yet soul-weary eyes. He is the angst- 
ridden artist incarnate, and Chen 
establishes an intense, introspective 
mood in the film where the audience is 
invited to share Giacometti's existen- 
tial view of the human condition. 

Set in Paris circa 1957, Chen unfolds 
Eternal Gaze as a dramatic fever dream 
of light and shadows, taking undeni- 
able cues from Gregg Toland's deep- 
focus cinematography in Orson Welles' 
Citizen Kane. With composer/co-pro- 
ducer Jamey Scott's music and sound 
design complementing Chen's 
imagery, the 16-minute short is part 




which in 2003 became a festival 
favorite and garnered a slew of awards 
ranging from the San Diego 
Filmmaker Award at the San Diego 
Film Festival, to grand prize honors 
for Best Animated Short Film at the 
Siggraph 2003 Convention. And the 
wave of critical kudos still continues 
to gather momentum as Chen travels 



Sam Chen's animated images of Italian 
sculptor Alberto Giacometti. 



the project. "It sounds corny, but I 
found out who I am and who I am 
supposed to be," says Chen. "It's been 
a personal journey." Chen further 
explained that it was a journey during 
which he felt driven to put his profes- 
sional and artistic self to the test. "You 
always want to prove yourself to your- 
self like, 'Can I do this? Do I have what 
it takes? Do I have something unique 
to say and offer?' Those are questions 
that every artist struggles with." 



portrait of the artist and part medita- 
tion on the creative process. 
Interestingly, the initial spark for the 
film's concept emerged from a reading 
assignment given on a day Chen 
ditched a drawing class he was taking 
at Stanford. He later picked up the 
assignment, though, "A Giacometti 
Portrait," and from the first page 
onward, Chen says, he was hooked. 

"It was an accident," says Chen, who 
was born in Taiwan and immigrated to 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 21 






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the US in 1975. "And, maybe, it was face. 
But I was taking an evening, life-draw- 
ing class and the professor gave a read- 
ing assignment about Giacometti writ- 
ten by James Lord. [Lord] posed for 
Giacometti for eighteen days. It was 
suppose to be a one-day pose, but it 
became eighteen days," Chen explains. 
"That's really a reflection of Giacometti. 
Art is never finished; just abandoned . . . 
He's searching for the meaning of life; 
the meaning of the human gaze. To 
him, there is no time limit." There was 
no time limit for Chen either when it 
came to realizing his dream project. 

In the three years that it took Chen 
to resurrect Giacometti as a comput- 
er-animated character, the first year 
alone was dedicated to doing research 
and character design. Chen read every- 
thing he could on the artist best 
known for his stark, monolithic figu- 
rative sculptures, which included the 
rediscovery of Lord's work in 
Giacometti: A Biography. And then the 
writing began. "I spent six months 
writing a first draft and it went 
nowhere," Chen recalls. "I threw it 




away and started from scratch. The 
next morning, it finished itself in two 
hours because it felt right." 

Chen, who thrives on working in a 
state of "healthy stress," says the 
breakthrough materialized when he 
shifted the script's focus away from 



Left: animator Sam Chen; right: 
Giacometti in Eternal Gaze. 



the art and started taking a serious 
look at the man behind the startling 
modernist masterworks. The key was 
making the audience empathize with 
Giacometti as a human being, Chen 
explains, thus allowing them to better 
appreciate the art that dominated his 



frame than you have to." 

Working on an animated piece like 
Eternal Gaze demands precision and a 
willingness to make even' image count, 
in order to create an illusion of life that 
makes sense both visually and concep- 
tually. Since he was creating the film 




life. And though one might think that 
a depiction of Giacometti as the exis- 
tentialist human being he was is a far 
cry from the more whimsical themes 
often associated with computer ani- 
mation, Chen believes his film openly 
challenges this notion. 

Like the technique of his elusive sub- 
ject, Chen approached his project as a 
search that started with pencil and 
paper, developing the character's 
anguished look from hundreds of 
drawings in his sketchbooks. Chen 
later drew storyboards on Post-It notes 
that he scanned into a computer for an 
ammatic— or animated storyboards— 
which were then set to music. It's a 
process that varies, says Chen, and one 
that is not always clear. "The difference 
between animation and live action is 
you're making the film backwards," he 
explains. "And what I mean is you have 
to edit everything ahead of time, and 
then you animate only enough to fill 
the length of each shot that's been pre- 
planned. That's because animation is 
so expensive and time consuming. 
You're not going to animate one more 



primarily on his laptop computer, 
Chen had to be at the top of his game, 
otherwise time, money, and energy 
would be wasted. In the end, nothing 
wasted and much gained, says Chen, 
who confesses to more than a passing 
connection to the sculptor's philoso- 
phy. "The coolest thing about this proj- 
ect was that parallelism," Chen 
explains. "It's one of those things where 
by the third year, all of my friends 
accused me of channeling Giacometti. 
It's almost as if I became Giacometti." 

"Animators are actually frustrated 
actors," says Chen, whose research for 
the film included taking acting and 
improv classes. "I'm the one who is actu- 
ally acting as Giacometti. And so I 
almost had to feel his torment and strive 
for the impossible. Not just Am I going 
to sell this? Does this look pretty?' It's 
more like you're putting your life on the 
line. The direr it is, the better it is." D 

Neil Kendncks is a San Diego based 

artist, filmmaker, and writer who is currently 

working on his latest short films-in-progress, 

Cipher and Duct Tape. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 23 




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field report 



Detroit, Michigan 

SLOWLY GROWS FERTILE FOR FILMMAKERS 
By Matthew Miller 



o 



ver the course of two 
generations, Detroit has 
gone from a symbol of 
American industrial pro- 
wess to a shorthand term for the worst 
of American urban decay. The city's 
hardest days are over, though— the 
days when commentators were calling 
Detroit a third-world city or, as Diane 
Sawyer once said, "the first urban 
domino to fall"— and there are real 
signs of recovery. Businesses have 
started moving into the once empty 
downtown area. New housing devel- 
opments have filled in previously 
vacant lots in the neighborhoods sur- 
rounding the city center. But three 
decades of middle-class flight, which 
started in earnest with a riot in 1967, 
have left Detroit in sorry shape. While 
the metro area has grown, the city's 
population is about half of what it was 
in the 1950s. The majority of the 
region's population and economy 
resides in the suburbs. So too do the 
region's cultural resources. 

Detroit, to put it another way, doesn't 
exercise the whirlpool effect of most 
large cities. It doesn't draw people, ideas, 
and resources down into a single center. 
It has trouble achieving that critical 
mass where individual cultural activities 
and institutions exceed the sum of their 
parts and become a vital cultural scene. 
This, however, is not to say that the city's 
film scene is altogether barren. Detroit 
and its surrounding suburbs have their 
share of working filmmakers, and there 
is a thriving production communitv, 
though its output is almost exclusively 
focused on the auto industry'. Still, it is a 
film scene in-progress and likely to 
remain so for some time. 

LU 

in 

< 

" Director Anthony Garth preparing a shot 
2 during DFC's Music Video Course 



DFC: Ten years, three names, 
one acronym 

The Detroit Film Center was formed 
around the idea of sharing resources, 
specifically an eight-plate Steenbeck 
flatbed. A little more than a decade ago, 
DFC founder Robert Andersen discov- 
ered the Steenbeck for sale, and 
thought to purchase it using cable fran- 
chise money (money from franchise 
fees paid to the city of Detroit by cable 




companies, a portion of which is set 
aside for local film projects). The 
administrator of those funds, a govern- 
ment functionary, told Andersen that 
he could have the money if he put 
together an organization of twenty peo- 
ple and agreed to house the machine in 
the city of Detroit. The organization 
Anderson put together was called the 
Detroit Film Co-op, the first of three 
names that would use the DFC 
acronym. The group incorporated in 
1993, changing its name to the Detroit 
Filmmakers' Coalition when members 
realized "co-op" was a legal designation, 
and soon began holding workshops to 



raise money for the S225-a-month rent 
on offices in a former downtown 
department store. They started holding 
monthly screenings of local work, and 
after that, Anderson says simply, "One 
thing led to another." 

Last October, the DFC celebrated 
its tenth anniversary and changed its 
name yet again to the Detroit Film 
Center, a name members felt better 
reflected the organization's increas- 
ingly inclusive mission. The DFC is 
now a 180-member organization with 
an annual budget of around S 150,000, 
and is very likely the most important 
resource center for independent film- 
makers in the city. The group offers 
more than a dozen regular filmmak- 
ing classes and workshops, taught by 
local film professionals and university 
instructors, on topics ranging from 
basic film production to screenwrit- 
ing to Super 8 experimental work. It 
provides inexpensive equipment 
rental, holds open screenings on the 
last Friday of each month, and spon- 
sors several film series including the 
New Cinema series, which focuses 
exclusively on independent and exper- 
imental filmmakers. 

And the DFC is growing. In 
February 2002, the group hired its 
first full-time employee, executive 
director Anthony Morrow, and in 
May, signed a five-year lease on a 
3,600-square-foot storefront in the 
Book Tower building downtown, a 
space more than three times the size 
of their previous location. The organi- 
zation also plans to launch the DFC 
Academy in 2004— a low-cost program 
of instruction in film and video pro- 
duction and digital design— while 
other ongoing plans seek to double 
the number of regular courses to 
accommodate a program that's 
expanding to include digital filmmak- 
ing techniques. 

In an effort to invite a broader com- 
munity, DFC is also trying to appeal to 
film lovers as well as filmmakers. "The 
idea has been to offer things for a lot of 
people out there who don't [just] want 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 25 



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to make films, but are appreciators of 
the art form," Morrow said. "Once we 
started telling more people about it 
and shifting the perspective, more peo- 
ple started coming down." Anderson 
added that expanding the organization 
and broadening its mission are part 
and parcel of maintaining its relevance. 
"If you want to keep [DFC] an impor- 
tant part of the community, you have 
to be responsive to the needs of the 
community," he said. "This is an outlet 
for people to engage in what I would 
consider the most popular commu- 
nicative form of media in the world: 
film and cinema language," he said. 
"We've given hundreds, really thou- 
sands, of people the ability to be able to 
speak in this language. I think that's 
incredibly important." 

Detroit Docs: One of the newest, 
and only, games in town 

For the most part, Detroit Docs exec- 
utive director and founder Chris 
Walny is terribly excited about her 
fledgling film festival. In November, 
just a few days before the festival went 
up for its second year, she gushed 
about the 10,000 hits her website had 
received the month before, along with 
the festival's substantive program- 
ming. "We're showing sixty-five films, 
which is insane for one weekend," she 
said. "We have thirty directors attend- 
ing. It's great." At times, though, she 
has looked at the event a bit ruefully. 
"There are days when I can't believe 
that I have to do this," the former free- 
lance producer contends, "[and] that I 
live in a city that doesn't have a film 
festival I can just go to." 

Detroit is a city with a lousy track 
record as far as film festivals are con- 
cerned. "They don't stick around," 
said Janet Lockwood, director of the 
Michigan Film Office. "The city's just 
never gotten a film festival that's last- 
ed." Ironically, though, this has prob- 



ed Detroit Docs founder and executive 
[2 producer, Chris Walny (left), with local 
o filmmaker James Petix and friend. 



ably worked in Walny's favor. When 
she started the festival in 2002, she 
thought it would be little more than a 
showcase for the documentary work 
of her friends. But a call for entries on 




filmfestivals.com generated a huge 
response, and Walney's small-scale 
vision quickly grew into a weekend- 
long event that has generated a gener- 
ous and impressive dose of attention. 
Detroit Docs may be new, but in a city 
where the competition is thin, it's 
already being seen as a major source of 
hope. Walny welcomes the encourage- 
ment, but admits to being slightly 
overwhelmed by the venue's sudden 
success. "It [has] turned into a bigger 
thing than I had expected." 

In addition to putting on the festi- 
val, Detroit Docs has partnered with 
the Woodward Film Society, an 
organization based in the Detroit 
suburb of Birmingham that sponsors 
local film events, for a monthly docu- 
mentary screening series that began 
in April 2003. The focus of the series 
has begun to shift from documen- 
taries in general toward "more cause- 
related events," Walny said. "We'd like 
to partner up with other nonprofits 
and use these films to help people get 
their messages out. Documentaries 
do that so well." 

Walny has said that ultimately she 
would like for Detroit Docs to func- 
tion as a resource center, providing 
information on grant research, fund- 
ing ideas, and crew support, but that 



she will be patient with the process. 
"It's in the works in the board's mind." 

One city, ten screens 

Phoenix Theaters Bel-Air Centre would 
be exceptional in most cities. It's an 
independently owned multiplex— a 
ten-screen theater owned by partners 
Coryjacobson and Charles Murray. 

In Detroit, it's even more excep- 
tional. It's the city's only first-run 
movie theater. 

Like many of Detroit's former resi- 
dents, the city's movie theaters have 
made their way to the suburbs over 
the last three decades. For Jacobson 
and Murray, this is not necessarily a 
bad thing. The two bought and refur- 
bished the dilapidated theater in 
2001, and renamed it after the mythi- 
cal bird that rose from its own ashes. 
They have done well enough that in 
May 2003 they were able to purchase a 
second nine-screen multiplex in the 
suburb of Farmington Hills. 

The facts of its ownership aside, few 
independent films ever make their 
way to the main screens at the 
Phoenix. With the dearth of competi- 
tion, Jacobson can pretty much get 
any film he wants, and says family 
films, comedies, and action flicks 
attract more of an audience than art 
films ever would, though a handful of 
local filmmakers have held screenings 
there. "[It's] fun when people come 
along and have enthusiasm for their 
work," Jacobson says— and film crews 
working in the city often use the forty- 
seat screening room to view dailies. 

Where the local film scene is con- 
cerned, Jacobson said, "There's a very 
natural connection." D 



Matthew Miller is a Lansing, Michigan based 
writer and former Detroit resident. 



For more information: 
Detroit Film Center: www.detroitfilm.org 
Detroit Docs: www.detroitdocs.org 
Phoenix: www.phoenixmovies.net 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 27 



SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST, FILM CONFERENCE AND FESTIVAL 



MARCH 12-20, 2004 
AUSTIN, TEXAS 




t's not hard to see why so much of the film 
world descends upon the South by Southwest 
Film Festival year after year to discover the new 
talents spilling out of projection booths. Recent 
SXSW world premieres include the Oscar-nomi- 
nated documentary Spellbound and the Emmy- 
nominated documentary Journeys with George. 

Film professionals are also welcome to take part 
in the annual film conference of panels and trade 
show. Rarely do you get such an intimate and 
precise glimpse at the way the current film 
industry works, with a perspective by the men 
and women who make it work. For four days in 
Austin, SXSW hosts a series of panels, discussions, 
conversations, and workshops to address current 
trends in the business as well as "how-to" advice 
on maintaining a career making films. 

REGISTER TO ATTEND SXSW FILM 

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2004 SCHEDULED PARTICIPANTS ALREADY INCLUDE: KIM ADELMAN, Author. The Ultimate Filmmaker's Guide To 
Short Films ■ JOEL BACHAR, Artistic Dir., Microcinema • MICHAEL BARKER, Co-President, Sony Pictures Classics ■ BOB BERNEY, 
President, Newmarket Films • JO EDNA BOLDIN, Casting Director, The Missing ■ MARK BOSKO, Author, The Complete Independent 
Movie Marketing Handbook ■ EAMONN BOWLES, President, Magnolia Pictures • PETER DEBRUGE. Programming Manager, AOL 
Movies • SCOTT DINGER, Artistic Dir., Austin Gay 6 Lesbian International Film Festival • UDY EPSTEIN, President, Seventh Art 
Releasing • RANA JOY GLICKMAN, President, Shakrah Films • CHRIS GORE, Founder. Film Threat ■ MOCHA JEAN HERRUP, Director, 
A Few Good Dykes ■ GILL HOLLAND, CEO, cineBLAST • ANN HORNADAY, Critic, The Washington Post • ZACHERY KADI50N, Creative 
Exec, Gold Circle Films • CYNTHIA KANE, Programmer, The Sundance Channel • HARRY KN0WLE5, Founder, Ain't It Cool News ■ 
PATRICK KWIATKOWSKI, Business Dir., Microcinema • TIM LEAGUE, Owner, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas ■ JOE LEYDON, Reporter, 
Variety • RON MANN, Director, Go Further ■ TIM MCCANLIES, Director, Secondhand Lions ■ LARRY MEISTRICH, CEO, Film 
Movement • STEPHEN WADE NEBGEN, Entertainment Attorney • BRIAN NEWMAN, Exec. Dir., Atlanta Film 6 Video Festival • 
ZACH RENER, Aspyr Media • GREG RHEM. Programmer, HBO • CAULEEN SMITH, Director, Drylongso ■ PAUL STEKLER, Director, 
George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire ■ TODD WAGNER, CEO, 2929 Entertainment • ROBERT WILONSKY, Pop Culture Editor, 
The Dallas Observer ■ CHRISTIAN ZAK, Technical Dir., Technicolor 

SXSW USA • PO BOX 4999 • AUSTIN TX 78765 • 512/467-7979 • fax 512451-0754 ■ 5x5w@5x5w.com 





f under faq 



Paul Robeson Fund for 
Independent Media 

Jason Guerrasio interviews Trinh Duong 



How many submissions do you 
receive annually? 

Last year it went up a lot; it was 497 
applications. Prior years we got 
about 200. 



What is the Paul Robeson Fund for 
Independent Media? 

It is a fund that gives grants to video, 
film, and radio programs. 

How long has it been in existence? 

It's been around since 1987. Originally 
it was called the Film Fund and in '87 
the name was changed. 

Was there a reason for that? 

Back then there was a sense that the 
name, the Film Fund, was too eeneric 
and we wanted to have a name that 
better reflected its progressive values. 

Why did you decide to name the fund 
after Paul Robeson— the world- 
renowned African American scholar, 
actor, athlete, and singer? 

The fund was named to honor him as 
both a legendary artist and civil rights 
activist. Paul Robeson spoke fiercely 
against the injustice in this country, 
even in the face of blacklisting during 
the McCarthy era. We thought the 
name was perfect to represent who we 
are— a fund that connects independ- 
ent media artists, community organiz- 
ing, and social change. 

What's the mission of the fund? 

We're looking to fund or distribute 
mediamakers that are innovative, that 
are grassroots, and that have projects 
that lead to social change— which means 
we encourage independent makers to 
use their creativity and skills to further 
the critical base-building work neces- 
sary to transform our society into one 
that is democratic and socially just. 

What types of projects do you seek? 

Sandi Dubowski's Trembling Before 
G-d funded by the Paul Robeson Fund. 



We typically fund projects on contem- 
porary social issues that are misrepre- 
sented, or viewpoints that are underrep- 
resented in mainstream media. All of 
our projects must articulate a thought- 
ful distribution strategy, in which the 



What was the reason for the 
increase? 

We've been doinc; a lot more outreach. 
We've seen five times as many radio 
applications as we've seen in the past, 
so that accounted for a hundred more 




maker presents a target audience and 
the means to reach this audience. They 
must also tell us the reason for selecting 
this audience and why the involvement 
of this audience is essential to the social 
change goals of the video, film, or radio. 
Some of our grantees have partnered 
with grassroots social change organiza- 
tions to hold screenings and conduct 
follow-ups. 

How much is the fund? 

We give out up to $20,000, though our 
grants typically range from $10-$15,000, 
and the overall amount of money that 
we give out is about $230-$285,000 a 
year. In most years we give grants to thir- 
ty to forty organizations or applicants. 

Is the same amount given out each 
year? 

Yes. Those are the ranges each year. 



[applicants] than usual. But we've 
also seen more video and film appli- 
cations as well. 

How many projects did you accept 
last year? 

Out of the 497 applicants we funded 
twenty-eight. 

Talk a little about the review process. 

It's really a two-step process. The staff 
in the grant department looks at all 
the applications to make sure they fit 
in the general guidelines— which can 
be downloaded on our website 
(www.fex.org). We do a first screen and 
then we present a significant number 
to our grant-making panel that ulti- 
mately selects the grantees. The panel 
is composed of about six mediamakers 
from around the country with expert- 
ise in video, film, and radio. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 29 




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How long does that take? 
About four months. 

Are there any restrictions in applying? 
Usually we stay away from projects 
that have budgets over S500.000; 
nothing historical; and most impor- 
tantly, we are looking for progressive 
issues, or progressive viewpoints on 
issues. The filmmaker must keep in 
mind that we're looking to fund proj- 
ects that can be used to further social 
change. They can't just say, 'I want to 
make this video so I can take it to a fes- 
tival.' Who is going to be your audi- 
ence? Why do they need to see this? 
What will the viewer do or what will 
they be encouraged to do or think 



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for Independent Media 
Funding Exchange 

666 Broadway, Suite 500 
New York, NY 10012 
Tel: 212-529-5300x307 
Fax: 212-982-9272 

email: info@fex.org 
www.fex.org 

Staff: 

Trinh Duong, 

Program Officer 

Jerry Snee, 

Grant Department Assistant 

The Slate: 2003 Grants 

VIDEO & FILM: 

Guerilla Video Primer, Randy 

Shadowalker & the Cascading 

Media 

Honoring the Seven Sacred Fires: 
Protecting Prophesy from Piracy, 
Sarah Penman & Winona LaDuke 

The Jail & the City, Natalie 
Bimmel 

The Strange Disappearance 
of Jose Padilla, Alex Rivera & 
John Valadez 

Truth Peace & Hip-Hop, Ben 

Gilbarg 

RADIO 

On the Edge: Human Rights at 

the US-Mexico Border, Edwin 

Mercado 

Race Stories, Phillip Martin 

Finding Voice, Sharon 
Bridgeforth 



30 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



about as a result of seeing your video 
or film, or listening to your radio pro- 
gram? And we only give out grants for 
pre-production and distribution; we 
don't fund films that are in produc- 
tion or in post. 

What's your relation with the Funding 
Exchange? 

The Paul Robeson Fund is a grant- 
making initiative of the Funding 
Exchange, so it's not its own separate 
foundation. The Funding Exchange is 
several different funds, and there are 
three activist funds where the grant- 
making is advised by a panel of 
activists. In the case of the Robeson 
Fund, it's mediamakers. So it's a fund 
that is administered through the 
Funding Exchange. 

How do you get your name out to the 
mediamakers? 

We go to panels to talk about the fund. 
Members of our grant-making panel 




conduct workshops. We also send 
information to radio conferences. 

Is there a timeline within which the 
funds must be used? 

No. We do ask for periodic reports, but 
we don't put a time limitation on 
when someone needs to complete their 
project by. When the project is fin- 
ished, we need to get a copy of it. 

What's the deadline to apply? 

May 15. 

2003 Robeson grantees included (left) 
Norman Cowie's The Dimensions in Which 
it Reigns Supreme; and (right) Randy 
Shadowalker's Guerilla Video Primer. 



Can you give a few titles that were 
selected for the fund in the past? 

Hononng the Seven Sacred Fires: Protecting 
Prophecy from Piracy Guerilla Video 
Primer by Randy Shadowalker & the 




Cascading Media Collective; On the 
Edge: Human Rights at the US-Mexico 
Border by Edwin Mercado (radio pro- 
gram); Caught Between Two Worlds: 
Iranians in the USA by Simin 
Farkhondeh and Persheng Sadegh- 
Varziri; Lest We Forget by Jason DaSilva; 
Trembling Before G-d by Sandi 
Dubowski, and Live from Death Row by 
Noelle Hanrahan (radio program). 

What are the most common mistakes 
applicants make when they approach 
you? 

We find that they don't have a distri- 
bution plan, or it's so lacking that it's 
just an afterthought. 

Are there any tips you can give 
mediamakers to make a project look 
more attractive? 

They need to have a sound fundraising 
strategy. If they're coming to us for a 
pre-production fund, and we award it 
to them, they need to have some plan 
of bringing this project to completion. 

Seeing that Paul Robeson is the cen- 
terpiece to the fund, is there anything 
he said or did in particular that puts 
the fund in perspective? 

We always like to use this one quote of 
his: "The artist must elect to fight for 
freedom or for slavery. I have made my 
choice. I had no alternative." D 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 



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Ask the 
Documentary Doctor 



By Fernanda Rossi 




Dear Doc Doctor: 

I made my last film with a small, com- 
petent team and a hefty budget, 
though I've seen many filmmakers 
getting all the equipment and doing it 
themselves. This time around I don't 
have as much money at my disposal. 
Am I wasting what little I have by rent- 
ing equipment and hiring people? 
Just because the possibility of doing it 
all yourself is out there, doesn't mean 
you have to go for it. Choosing to fly 
solo is a big decision for a filmmaker- 
money is just one of the reasons, and a 
misleading one at that. Working on the 
cheap can mean more hours, which can 
in turn mean a more expensive shoot in 
the long run. Or even worse, it can 
mean not having experienced profes- 
sionals to assist you, which can in turn 
mean very expensive mistakes. 

Before you embark on a long and 
lonely odyssey, consider the idea of 
raising more money so that you can 
enjoy the benefits of working with 
capable professionals. If, indeed, you 
have arrived at the end of your 
fundraising wit and have exhausted 
all of your favors in the filmmaking 
community, see if other circum- 
stances besides money merit taking 
the plunge all by yourself. 

Filmmaker Carlo Ontal, a native of 
New York who now shoots social doc- 
umentaries in Sierra Leone for the 
UN, says he was motivated by more 
than a lack of funds to strike out on 
his own: "Confidence bordering on 



arrogance and the certainty that my 
vision was non-existent if I just talked 
about it." The fear of not getting your 
story told combined with an exuber- 
ant amount of confidence can get you 
to move mountains, or at least a few 
pounds of equipment. 

Washington-based filmmaker Denise 
Ohio (Amazing World) was moved to 
work independently by creative frustra- 
tion. After not seeing eye-to-eye with her 
DP, she snatched the camera and eot to 
work as a one-woman production team. 
Carrying the equipment herself paid 
off— she ended up the patent holder of a 
lighting system that is lightweight as 
well as tough. She also handled all post- 
production tasks, and claims that she 
would happily do it all over again. 

On the other side of things, San 
Francisco filmmaker Nathan Friedkin 
(Specially Wonderful Affair) has decided to 
leave behind his days of lonely filmmak- 
ing, with an eye toward lessening his 
stress level: "Doing it all yourself is a 
great way to learn but a stressful way to 
live! Now when I decide to pick up a 
camera or edit a project, it's not out of 
necessity— it's because I feel that I can 
bring something unique to the process." 

All filmmakers and films are born dif- 
ferently. The equation: "the more I do the 
more I save" has hidden costs that, 
according to your personality and goals, 
could become huge dividends or debt. 
It's not perfect math. It's perfect aware- 
ness of your situation and possibilities. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

What are your thoughts on the so- 
called "digital revolution"? 

Every time I tackle the subject of the 
"digital revolution," my hands tremble 
at the keyboard in anticipation of an 
avalanche of emails. No matter what I 
sav, there will invariably be those who 



agree, disagree, condemn, and accuse. 
And that, in fact, is precisely why it's a 
revolution— it touches all of us on all 
fronts in very deep ways. 

Many big words get tossed around at 
the mention of the "digital revolution." 
Some people talk about the democrati- 
zation of media, while others are con- 
cerned about the question of distribu- 
tion: Who controls distribution? Will 
the Internet deliver its promise of equal 
access to the audience? 

Others are purely focused on digital 
aesthetics and whether or not they can 
be measured up to par. Is there a medi- 
um appropriate for each story or 
should all stories aspire to come alive in 
35mm? There are also the environmen- 
tal issues regarding the manufacturing 
of film and tape, all those non-friendly 
chemicals used in the making and pro- 
cessing. Let's also not forget the finan- 
cial consideration for both producers 
and big corporations involved, as it is 
cheaper to shoot digital, many have to 
find their place in this new landscape. 

The last decades have shown greater 
change in filmmaking technique, but 
there has always been some sort of big, 
imminent technological change that 
would turn the filmmaking world on 
its head. There was the introduction of 
sound, which left most actors of silent 
movies without work. Then there was 
color, which made cameras so heavy 
that aesthetics went back in time. And 
then there was 16mm and then 8mm 
and then video and then digital and 
who knows what will be next! 

Technology is accessible and there- 
fore permeates language, but don't get 
intimidated by the talk. Regardless of 
the historical film climate, I still believe 
that shooting happens in the eye and 
editing happens in the brain. D 

Want to ask the Doc Doctor a question for a 
future issue of The Independent? Write to her 
at info@documentarydoctor.com 

Fernanda Rossi is a filmmaker and 

script/ documentary doctor. She also leads the 

bimonthly Documentary Dialogues 

discussion group offered by AIVF. For more 

info, visit www. documentarydoctor.com 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 33 





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on view 



Work to Watch For 



By Jason Guerrasio 



Theatrical 

Gypsy 83 

dir. Todd Stephens 

(Small Planet Pictures, February 6) 

Because of his disappointment over 
his first film. Edge of Seventeen, 
director Todd Stevens was uncer- 
tain if he wanted to continue his 
childhood dream of making 
movies. But after a Stevie Nicks 
concert, he was convinced to keep 
going. The concert introduced him 
to Nicks' following on the inter- 
net—where he met one fan, Susan 
Childs, who triggered what Stevens 
calls "the healing process" of writ- 
ing a script about both his love for 
Nicks and his frustrations over his 
last film. 

In Gypsy 83, the main character, 
Gypsy (Sara Rue), is a Stevie Nicks 
fanatic who mimics her rock idol's 
style down to the velvet cape. When 
her friend, Clive (Kett Turton) finds 
out about the annual "Night of 1,000 
Stevies" at a New York nightclub, the 
two decide to drive from Ohio to 
New York. Throughout this journey, 
they gradually abandon the Goth 
facade that they've been hiding 
behind and reveal insecurities very 
similar to the ones Stephens had 
while writing the script. "Gypsy has a 
lot of issues and a lot of fear that 
holds her back, and I think in a way 
there's a lot of me in the part," 
Stephens explains. "I think [writing 
her character] was really a way 
of telling myself that I could [make 
the film]." 

Nicks wouldn't allow her music to 
be used in the film, which proved to 
be a challenge when the script called 
for Gypsy to sing Stevie Nicks popu- 

Sara Rue & Kett Turton in Todd 
Stephens' Gypsy 83. 



The Statement 

dir. Norman Jewison 
(Sony Pictures Classics, 
December 1 2, 2003) 

As a young man during World War 

II, Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine) 

lar song "Gypsy" at the "Night of was a Nazi sympathizer and commit- 

1,000 Stevies." "It seemed so crush- ted heinous crimes against the Jews. 

ing that we didn't get the 'Gypsy' Since then, the faces of his victims 




song," says Stephens, though he 
eventually teamed up with a compos- 
er to write an original song for the 
scene. "Everybody says that the new 
song works so much better. It shows 
that Gypsy removes the Stevie Nicks 
persona and becomes herself for the 
first time." 



have haunted him in his sheltered 
life under the protection of the 
Catholic Church. When an ambi- 
tious judge (Tilda Swinton) and 
colonel (Jeremy Northam) launch a 
new investigation into his crimes, 
assassins try to silence him before he 
testifies aeainst their hires. Based on 



January/ February 2004 | The Independent 35 



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the novel by Brian Moore, The 
Statement is Norman Jewison's twen- 
ty-seventh feature and deals with 
similar themes from his previous 
films, namely betrayal and hypocrisy. 

Kitchen Stories 

dir. Bent Hamer 

(IFC Films, February 13) 

The latest film by Norwegian film- 
maker Bent Hamer is a comical take 
on home science research. While 
observing 1950's housewives in their 
kitchens. Swedish scientists stumble 
upon some interesting data. To fur- 
ther their research, they decide to 
cross into Norway— the land ofmanv 
bachelors— and study the kitchen 
habits of single males. After arriving 
in their egg-shaped campers, the sci- 
entists find that the bachelors are 
not very receptive to the study, espe- 
cially Isak (Joachim Calmeyer), who 
immediately takes a disliking to his 
observer, Folke (Tomas Norstrom). 
But eventually the two become 
friends, and together realize the stu- 
pidity of the research in-progress. 




one man's frustrations over his lack 
of money and success push him over 
the edge. Hussein (Hussein 
Emadeddin) is a humble pizza deliv- 
ervman struggling to get though the 
daily grind when his friend Ali 
(Kamyar Sheissi) finds a purse with 



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Crimson Gold 

dir. Jafar Panahi 

(Wellspring Pictures, February 20) 

Based on true events. Iranian direc- 
tor Jafar Panahi's film explores how 

Top: Michael Caine in The Statement. 
Bottom: The Jones and the West fami- 
ly at Oak Bluffs harbor, 1909, from A 
Place of Our Own. 



a receipt for an expensive necklace 
inside. Hussein is amazed by the 
amount of money one person would 
spend for an inanimate object. He 
decides to check out this kind of 
jewelry, but once he arrives at the 
store in ratty clothes he is quickly 
escorted out, which begins a tragic 
downward spiral. 



36 The Independent | January/February 2004 



Television 

A Place of Our Own 

dir Stanley Nelson 
(PBS, February 17) 

Known for his films on forgotten fig- 
ures in black history, Stanley 
Nelson's most recent project takes 
on a subject he's never explored— his 
own life. Although he originally 
wanted to make a film about African 
American resorts in the US, a lack of 
funding forced him to highlight only 
one: Oak Bluffs in Martha's 
Vineyard, where Nelson spent his 
childhood summers. 

A Place of Our Own covers the his- 
tory of African Americans at Oak 
Bluffs, as well as Nelson's own expe- 
rience there. Nelson grew up in a 
middle-class family and spent his 
childhood among mostly white kids. 
In the summer, however, his family 
would drive eight hours from New 
York to Oak Bluffs where Nelson 
found himself in a predominantly 
black community, an environment 
he has since cherished. "Making the 
film made it really clear how essen- 
tial it was for my life," says Nelson of 
his time at Oak Bluffs. 

"[For most people] you grow up, 
you move from the old neighbor- 
hood or you move four, five times 
while you grow up and there's no 
connection," says Nelson. "[In] 
Martha's Vineyard the same people 
are still there, the same families, the 
same houses, so it's very grounding. I 
never thought about it in exactly 
that way before I made the film. It 
was kind of like my Mayberry." 

Although he admits that he didn't 
want the film to turn into an 
"expensive home video," Nelson felt 
it was important to include the 
shaky relationship he's had with his 
father and how making the film 
brought them closer. "I'm not able 
to divulge my deepest, darkest 
secrets [to him], but I love him dear- 
ly," says Nelson. During the filming, 
he and his father spent a lot of time 




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together, which Nelson thinks "is 
a jumping off point." 

Colorvision 

Exec. prod. Marc Henry Johnson 
(American Public Television, 
January 2) 

This new series showcases diverse 
works of independent filmmakers 
addressing issues of the minority 
experience. The first episode high- 
lights "heroes" through short 
films integrated with social com- 
mentary. Two of these films were 
favorites at festivals in the past 
year. In Dream Hampton's I Am 
Ali, a young man's relationship is 
ruined when he deludes himself 
into believing he is Muhammad 
Ali. Dayyan Eng's Bus 44 illustrates 
a different kind of heroism; a man 
comes to the rescue of a female 
bus driver after the bus is 
hijacked. In between the shorts, 
radio host Dan Ho reports on one 
of his heroes. El Vez the Chicano 
Elvis, and visits Marvel Comics in 
hope of finding more ethnically 
diverse superheros. 

Why Can't We 

Be A Family Again? 

dir. Roger Weisberg and Murray 
Nossel (PBS, January 27) 

Danny and Raymond have been 
waiting most of their lives to be 
reunited with their crack-addicted 
mother who, despite a supportive 
family, can't stay out of rehab. In 
this emotional documentary 
about the brothers' harsh journey 
from childhood to young adult- 
hood, they talk about the embar- 
rassment of constantly excusing 
their mother's absence, and how 
they yearn for her to return. When 
their grandmother finally files for 
custody of them, they begin to 
realize that their mother will never 
get clean. D 



Jason Guetrasio is j staff writer 
for The Independent. 



38 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



site seeing 



Locus Novus 

FLASHING MODERN TALES 
By Leslie Harpold 



F] aruk Ulay wanted to find 
new ways to tell stories. So 
in January 2000, he created 
the site Locus Novus 
(www.locusnovus.com), which three 
times a year presents unconventional 
tales layered in text, motion, and 
sound— tales that read like candy 
from a Whitman's Sampler; while you 
try to guess by the title and opening 
screen what the filling will be, you 
have to bite down and commit to 
learn what's inside— and then you are 
often surprised. 

Filmmakers have long controlled 
the pace and method at which details 
of a story are revealed— unlike maga- 
zines or web pages where you can scan 
ahead, jump to the middle, then jump 
back at will. The web's technology and 
limitations leave the medium some- 
where between film and print. Ulay 
sought to present multivalent narra- 
tives, whereas with film, the readers 
had to take things at a predetermined 
pace— spend time with characters, 



"deeply rooted in print design and [I] 
take design in general quite seriously. 
In the early years I was contributing 



would allow him to actualize his 
personal and unique style of story- 
telling. "The primary objective is to 
present literary texts in such a way 
that new layers of reading are creat- 
ed. Some pieces require viewers' 
interaction," he says, "some of them 
impose their own time to the viewer. 
Continuous movement and sound 
intercepts the reading of the viewer, 




my short stories and cover designs to a 
Turkish literary magazine. They were 
thinking of having a web presence as 
well, so I started publishing their 
magazine on the web. It became my 



alters the textual condition of the 
image on the screen and affect the 
perceptibility of the text." The pieces 
are moody and ephemeral, combin- 
ing text narrative with images that 




images, and sentences before advanc- lab and I learned many of the tricks of propel readers forward, unravel the 
ing. "I am an older generation graphic the trade when playing with that mag- plot, and fill in the emotional sub- 
designer," says the Turkish-born Ulay, azine." text of the words. "The works invite 

When Macromedia's Flash tech- the thought that the literary history 

Unconventional tales from Frank Ulay's nology came of age, Ulay found the is also the history of reading and 

Flash site, Locus Novus. tool he'd been seeking— one that they question the usage of the com- 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 39 




Our 7th Annual "Mag" welcomes all 
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Choirs". Mario Poras's "Mai's America", 
and Ognian Bozikov's ""Doppelganger". 



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purer as a stable reading device. In 
other words. Locus Novus is an 
experiment with systems of repre- 
sentation and presentation, and 
integrated forms of expression," 
Ulay explains. 

The history of reading is reflected 
in the story selections. Referencing 
artists Alexander Calder and Joseph 
Cornell and early French filmmaker 
George Melies, Ulay also pays atten- 
tion to those who influence visual 
interpretations. While he does most of 
the design and motion work himself, 
he also invites authors to contribute 




ideas as to how their work will be 
interpreted. Contributing writer 
Tobias Seamon submitted his work, A 
Treatise on Seizures, already folded into 
the format m collaboration with 
designer and friend Andrea Morris. 

The result is evocative, brief 
escapes into tales of heartbreak, frus- 
tration, and love. The sentiments are 
simple, and in their simplicity, offer 
touch points for the viewers to 
immediately engage. The imager}- is 
stylish and varied, and the stories are 
infused with literary references- 
there is no mistaking this for casual 
fiction. Everything seems carefully 
considered. This Stoiy Does Not Have a 
Happy Ending by G.S. Evans is pre- 
sented in such a way that if the read- 
er clicks too soon, the text thev have 
just seen is repeated, and one must 
learn to accept the pace, even 
thought the story is engaging 
enough to create a desire to rush 
toward the promised unhappv end- 



40 The Independent | January/February 2004 




DSR- P D1 5 Q 



If it ain't broke, don't fix i t 



vs ^ e &H€r. 









iDVCAMl 




w Features 

in the DSR-PD170 



' Minimum Mummation is improved from 2tx to 1 1x (Advanced HAD technology) 
1 Auoto S/N ratio m manual mode is improved by 6dB 
' Wide Angle Conversion Lens is included as standard 

■ New Lens Hood on Wide Angle Conversion Lens can be attached or removed 
without removing the hood 

' Additional lens hood is provided with built-in lens cap. which can be operated 
by aside lever 

■ Zoom lever and Rec/Start/Stop button are located on handle for easy low angle shooting 
> Handle and viewfinder lens are enlarged for improved gnpping and better monitoring 

1 Hybrid LCD Panel enhances viewing in direct sunlight 
' Quantity of adjustment steps on Ins control is doubled from 1 2 to 24 
' LCD Panel and Viewfinder can be operated simultaneously, enabling use of the LCD 
panel for camera angle checking and use of Viewfinder for focusing at the same time 

■ I. LINK Cable Strap aids in preventing incidental cable disconnection to the DSR-DR1 
disk recording unit 



Specifications 



DSR-PD170 DVCAM Camcorder 



Lens: 



12:1 Variable Speed (1.2-22 sec) zoom lens 

F=6.0 to 72.0 mm: F1 .6 to 2.4; niter Diameter 58 mm 



Focus: 



Auto/Manual (ring)/lnfinity/One push auto 



Imaging Device: 



White Balance: 



Three 1/3-inch type CCDs. 380.000 pixels/Effective 340.000 
pixels (gross: NTSQ/450.000 pixels/Effective 400.000 pixels 
(gross: PAL), Progressive/Interlace Scan 

1/4 1/8. 1/15, 1/30. 1/60, 1/90. 1/100. 1/125, 1/180. 1/250. 
1/350. 1/500, 1/725. 1/1000, 1/1500. 1/2000. 1/3000. 1/4000, 
1/6000. 1/10000 second (NTSC) 

' 50, 1/60, 1/100. 1/120, 1/150. 1/215. 
1/300, 1/425. 1/600. 1/1000. 1/1250. 1/1750. 1/2500, 1/3500. 
1/6000, 1/10000 second (PAL) 



Exposure: 


ftutc Manua 


Minimum Illumination: 


1 lx 


Horizontal Resolution: 


530 TV lines 


Viewfinder: 


180,000 dot Black & White LCD, Zebra Pattern 


Audio Signal Rec: 


48 kHz/16-brt, 32 kHz/12-CT 


Playback: 


48 kHz/1 6-bit, 32 kHz/1 2-bit, 32 kHz/1 6-bit, 44.1 kHz/1 6-bit 


Built-in Speaker 


Dynamic Speaker 


LCD: 


Hybrid. 2.5-inch, 211, 200 dots (960 x 220) 


Tape Speed: 


Approx. 28.2 mm/sec (DVCAM mode) 
Approx. 18.8 mm/sec (DV SP mode) 


Maximum Recording Time: 40 minutes (DVCAM mode) 
60 minutes (DV SP mode) 


Video Signal: 


ElA Standard. NTSC color system (DSR-PD170) 
CCIR Standard. PAL color system (DSR-PD170P) 



Connectors 



Video IN/OUT: 



Audio IN/OUT: 



S-Video IN/OUT: 



Audio IN: 



LANC: 
External DC IN: 



3 CA pin x 1 

. nance signal: 1 Vp-p 
75Q. unbalanced, sync negative 



RCA pin x 2 

327 mV 

Output impedance with less than 2.2 kli 

Input impedance with more than 47 kfl 



Mini-Din 4 pin x 1 

Luminance signal: 1 Vp-p. 75fl. unbalanced 

Chrominance signal: 0.286 Vp-p (NTSC). 0.3 Vp-p (PAL) 

XLR 3-pin female x 2. -60 dBu. 3 kU M dBu, 10 kQ 
(0 dBu = 0.775 Vrms) 

i.UNK - (DV IN/OUT) 4-pin x 1 



Stereo mini jack (0.25 cm) x 1 
Headphone Stereo mini jack (0.35 cm) x 1 



8.4 V for AC-L1 5 AC adaptor 



Operating temperature: 



0to40=C(32to 104=F) 



Storage temperature: 



-20 to 60 ; C (-4 to 140 C F) 



Power Requirements: 



DC 7.2 V (Battery). DC 8.4 V (AC adaptor) 



Power Consumption: 



Rec. with Viewfinder only: 4.7 W 
Rec. with LCD monitor only: 5.4 W 
Rec. with Viewfinder and LCD monitor: 5.7 W 
Playback on LCD: 4.1 W 



Dimensions (W x H x D): 



1 33 x 1 80 x 456 mm (5 1/4 x 7 1/8 x 18 inches) 
(camcorder only) 



Weight 



Approx. 1 .6 kg (3 lb 6 oz) (camcorder only) 



Supplied Accessories 



AC-L15 AC Adaptor 



ECM-NV1 Electret Condenser Microphone 



NP-F330 InfoUTHIUM Rechargeable Battery Pack 



VCL-HG0758 Wide Conversion Lens 



LSF-S58 Lens Hood for Wide Conversion Lens and Hood Cap 



Lens Hood with Built-in Lens Cap 



RMT-81 1 Remote Commander and R6 Batteries (x2) 



Carrying Belt 



i.UNK Cable Strap 



Stereo AV Cable 



"i LINK is a trademark of Sony used only to designate that a product contains an IEEE 1394 connector. All products with an i.UNK connector may not communicate with each other Please refer to the documentation that comes with 
any device having an i.UNK connector for information on compatibility operating conditions and proper connection. For information on any device having an i.UNK connection contact SONY at 1 -800-686-7669 

©2003 Sony Corporation All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited Features and specificafions are subject to change without notice. All non-metnc weights and measures are 
approximate. Sony. Advanced HAD. DVCAM. i.UNK. and InfoUTHIUM are trademarks of Sony Corporation 



ing. Generally, this is hard to do sue- The fruits of his restraint in presen- 

cessfully in a medium where speed tation occasionally produce a sense of 
and ease are the technology's prom- tedium, but much more often serve as 




ise. These stories are not for those 
who are rushing to get information. 
Locus Novus offers a respite from 
the factually dense space of the web, 
creating a small place where haste is 
willingly sacrificed for the unexpect- 
ed satisfaction of a true multi-senso- 
ry experience. 

When presenting linear narrative, 
no matter what the medium, tradi- 
tional design ideas apply to keeping 
content intact. Ulay feels much of 
the current crop of site designers 
are so smitten with the technology 
that they forget the importance of 
the text. He considers himself con- 
servative in his storytelling presen- 
tation, which, he explains, is a strict 
interpretation of Modernism. "If 
you are dealing with a slow moving, 
melancholic piece of narration, you 
wouldn't want the type flying all 
over the page, doing somersaults 
and disappearing after exploding 
into smithereens. I admit that they 
look exciting, but do they compli- 
ment the content?" When making 
decisions about motion and sound, 
Ulay is similarly respectful of his 
writer's work. "Rather than focus- 
ing on never-done-before wipes, and 
magical appearances and disappear- 
ances, [the] 'why' question should 
be asked first: Why do I need this 
movement? Why does this photo 
turn pink before it dissolves into a 
photo of an elephant?" 



a reminder that in any medium it is 
the story that holds everything 
together. The fabric of experience is 
always in plot— sounds and motion 
compliment and contribute, but ulti- 
mately, words are the foundation 
from which all the other enhance- 
ments hang. 

What started as a pure artistic exper- 
iment has had some professional side 
effects Ulay wasn't anticipating. 
Although not his intention, his Locus 
Novus site has proven itself a magnet 
for attracting new work to his design 
firm, Ulay + Ulay Communications 
(http://ulaydesign.com/). Literary and 
arts magazine Grand Street contacted 
him last year and asked him to 
redesign their site, hoping he could 
give them something dynamic to wrap 
around their content. And, he is cur- 
rently working on a new site for Dalkey 
Archive Press, a nonprofit that strives 
to keep selected titles in world litera- 
ture both in print and in circulation. 

The reward is deeper than the 
financial consideration, Ulay 
explains, "Independent, nonprofit 
organizations are more receptive to 
adventurous design, so I like work- 
ing with them. It also has a redeem- 
ing value for a designer who min- 
gled with pure commercialism for 
fifteen years." D 

Leslie Harpold is a San Francisco 
based writer and web designer. 



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January/February 2004 | The Independent 41 



festival circuit 



The S.N.O.B. Fest 

NEW HAMPSHIRE REELS IN SOME COOL FILMS 
By Rebecca Rule 



Some thought S.N.O.B. 
might be an off-putting 
acronym for the Somewhat 
North of Boston Film 
Festival; others believed the irony was 
obvious. After all, the festival's mascot 
is a sock puppet with the S.N.O.B. logo 
stitched to its lips, and besides, real 
snobs wouldn't call themselves 
S.N.O.B. 

It was students and teachers at New- 
Hampshire Technical Institute that 
loined business and cultural leaders 



She's on the committee that put 
together the second annual S.N.O.B. 
Film Festival held November 6-9 at the 
New Hampshire Technical Institute 
and City Auditorium. 

In this presidential primary season, 
the city— the whole state for that mat- 
ter—was buzzing with political candi- 
dates hoping to win the first-in-the- 
nation primary. One young rep for a 
prominent Democrat confessed that 
he'd stopped by to stump for his man, 
but got so caught up in the films he 




from a group called Red River Theatres 
to see if a festival of independent and 
art films would fly in Concord, New- 
Hampshire, a city of 40,000 and the 
state capital. Without a theater to call 
home (yet) and run entirely by volun- 
teers, S.N.O.B. proves you don't have to 
live in a big city to appreciate innova- 
tion. When a community comes togeth- 
er to be surprised, provoked, even 
shocked by a good independent or art 
film, the experience, says organizer 
Connie Rosemont, can be a social event 
as well an intellectual or sensual one. 



played campaign hooky and ended up 
staving all day. "This is so much cool- 
er than what I was supposed to be 
doing," he said, as he shook the hand 
of Vermont filmmaker John O'Brien. 
O'Brien's trilogy— Vermont is for Lovers, 
Man With a Plan, and the just complet- 
ed, Nosey Parker— played back to back 
for the first time. O'Brien spoke 
before and took questions after each 
film. It was a long day, but O'Brien 
says, like folk singers, filmmakers who 
self-distribute have to be "persistent 
and ubiquitous." 



His slices of rural life mix profes- 
sional actors with regular folk from 
Tunbridge, Vermont, best known for 
the Tunbridge Fair, second best 
known for Fred Tuttle, the recently 
deceased star of Man With a Plan, who— 
seventy-two years old and too crippled 
for farming— played himself running 
for U.S. senate, then, talk about irony, 
ran for the senate in real life a couple 
of years later. He won the Republican 
primary, but, being Fred, urged voters 
to support his Democratic opponent 
in the general election. 

In O'Brien's films, character is piv- 
otal, plot minimal, scenery bucolic, 
dialogue improvised, and the Yankee 
accents authentic. S.N.O.B. is a good 
match for these funny, affectionate 
stories of a disappearing way of life. 
Besides, "When you open in New 
York," he says, "you've got to spend a 
minimum of S200.000 for publicity. 
That's the budget for my whole film." 

Concord has an "affinity for film," 
O'Brien says. It also has O'Brien boost- 
er and film aficionado Bam' Steelman 
who, for thirty-five years, has run 
Cinema 93, once an independent the- 
ater, now a video store. Steelman 
chairs the board of Red River Theatres, 
S.N.O.B. 's nonprofit sponsor. In Red 
River's quest to establish a new inde- 
pendent theater downtown, S.N.O.B. 
is a step in the right direction. 

S.N.O.B organizers mixed full-length 
films of national and international 
prominence with short films and their 
local makers. Elia Suleiman's Grand 
Jury Prize winner at the 2002 Cannes 
Film Festival, Divine Intervention, depicts 
the dreams and nightmares of contem- 
porary Palestinians and Israelis. At 
S.N.O.B., it played downstairs horn Jack 
Milton: Fairytale Detective, a clever short 
from voung New Hampshire director, 
Todd Norwood. 

The Weather Underground from Sam 
Green and Bill Siegel generated pas- 
sionate discussion about the radical 

Anna Christopher's short Sock It To Me 
inspired the S.N.O.B. Fest's mascot, the 
Sock Monkey. 



42 The Independent | January/February 2004 



activists of the Vietnam era: motives, 
actions, and morality. For this movie 
and others, the New Hampshire 
Humanities Council provided schol- 
ars to lead discussions. Tempers 
flared when Deborah Scranton van 
Paassen— who directed Stories from 
Silence, Witness to War, a tribute to local 
World War II veterans— warned speak- 
ers to respect veterans. "Nobody here 
disrespects veterans," one audience 
member shot back. A young woman 
wondered if in America we're allowed 
"a choice not to honor vets?" Several 
observed similarities between the frus- 
tration that fueled Vietnam War 
protests and today's debate over Iraq. 
But it was Blue Vinyl organizers 
cited as the keystone challenge to the 
status quo. John O'Brien, who intro- 
duced the documentary, described 




director Judith Helfand as "Michael 
Moore without the ego." And sure 
enough, as she travels the world with a 
hunk of vinyl siding from her parent's 
home under her arm, attempting to 
find out how safe this product really 
is, she comes across as curious, willing 
to listen, and determined to get to the 
truth. Stubborn, yes, but never egotis- 
tical; the subject of this documentary 
is, clearly, vinyl, not Judith Helfand. 
(see also page 52) 

Lynn Kilchenstein, interim presi- 
dent of New Hampshire Technical 
Institute and S.N.O.B. committee 
member, said her favorite part of the 
festival was the Celebration of Shorts, 

Michael Eschenbach's short The 
Passage Beneath and Todd Norwood's 
short Fairytale Detective were both 
screened at the 2003 S.N.O.B. Fest. 



five films ranging from four minutes 
for The Rogue Song (a 1930 Laurel and 
Hardy fragment) to the twenty-nine- 
minute The Passage Beneath, directed by 
Michael Esenbach, a tour of the tun- 
nels and campus of New Hampshire 
State Hospital. Bruce Cronin's Wild 
Goose provides a glimpse into the mis- 
chief of nursing home life. Lost and 
Found, set in Manchester, New 
Hampshire, involves a young women, a 
panhandler, and a lost wallet. And Sock 
It To Me— inspiration of this year's mas- 
cot—chronicles the adventures of Alex, 
who sings in a bee suit for a living and 
makes sock monkeys for the joy of it. 

The challenge for S.N.O.B. is to 
present great films on a limited budg- 
et, just as the challenge for the makers 
of shorts is to create great little films 
on a shoestring. These shorts repre- 
sent "young talent taking risks with 
their art," Kilchenstein says. The audi- 
ence is willing to take risks, too, 
"because you know it will be over in a 
few minutes." 

Organizer Bill Whitman discovered 
Speedo, directed by Jesse Moss, at the 
Boston Film Festival. He was looking 
for a "sort of fringe documentary doc- 
umenting fringe people." At a special 
screening, a father and son seemed riv- 
eted by the story of Ed "Speedo" Jager, 
demolition derby driver. They 
exclaimed over the crashes, laughed at 
Speedo's irreverence, and suffered 
through Speedo's own suffering- 
estrangement from his wife, fights with 
other drivers, worries about his kids. 

The S.N.O.B. Film Festival is big 
enough to draw 450 people to a 
Friday night presentation of Buster 
Keaton's The General accompanied by 
the inimitable Alloy Orchestra, and 
small enough, accommodating 
enough, to reschedule and replay 
Penobscot Basketmaker or Speedo for an 
audience of two. 

The weekend culminated with Lost 
Boundaries, produced by two-time 
Academy Award winner Louis 
deRochemont. This film broke the 
subject of racism wide open in 1949 



when the New York Times named it one 
of the year's ten best. Based on a true 
story, Lost Boundaries takes place in 
Keene, New Hampshire. A black fami- 
ly passes for white, because the father, 
a doctor, is too light-skinned to work 




in a black hospital. Mel Ferrer plays 
Dr. Carter, whose secret is exposed 
when he applies for a commission in 
the Navy, hoping to serve in World 
War II. The reactions of colleagues, 
neighbors, the congregation of the 
Episcopal Church are chilling. And yet 
some rally to support the family. The 
Carters— like their real-life counter- 
parts, the Johnstons— refuse to give in 
to prejudice. 

Larry Benaquist, whose documen- 
tary Here Am I: Send Me: The Journey of 
Jonathan Daniels was another hit of the 
festival, says Lost Boundaries "opened 
up the whole issue of racism for pub- 
lic debate." Jonathan Daniels— killed 
by police in 1965 while trying to pro- 
tect a black woman— grew up in 
Keene. Daniels' father had been a col- 
league of Dr. Johnston. And, of 
course, Daniels knew the story, knew 
the family. How did a young white 
man from New Hampshire become 
one of the heroes of the Civil Rights 
Movement? The experiences of the 
Johnston family and Lost Boundaries, 
the movie that Louis deRochemont 
mortgaged his house to finance, 
undoubtedly played a role. D 

See www.snobfilmfestival.org for information. 

Rebecca Rule is a New Hampshire 

based writer, and the author of two collections 

of short stories. Her latest, The Best 

Revenge, will be out in paperback this spring. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 43 







SHOOTING UP WITH 16MM 

By Gadi Harel 







T 



^ 




MAY 10, 2003 

The movie premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival. I watch 
from the aisle and think, "Man this looks good." The movie is 
Nights Like These, a 16mm black and white short I shot the 
year before, about a bored shadow that attempts to switch 
places with the shadow of a mysterious, hopefully more 
interesting, man. Shadows played supporting roles in all the 
great noir films, and what I wanted to do with this film was 
to give them the starring roles. And sitting there in Battery 
Park United Artist Theatre, home of the Tribeca Film 
Festival, it feels like we totally nailed it. Hard to believe that— 

FIRST WEEK OF MAY 2002 (a year earlier) 

My producer and I are convinced we're shooting on DV. Let 



me explain. Pre-production on Nights Like These is continual- 
ly interrupted by trips to various festivals for a feature I co- 
directed with Will Keenan called Operation Midnight Climax 
(0A/C), which was shot on Super 16 by the super-talented 
"Wild Bill" Miller. You know how they say that Super 16 is 
not a projection format? And that in order to project it on 
film you have to blow it up to 35? Well, here's what I found 
out: That's not just what they say. For OA/C, Will and I have 
two options: (A) blowing up to 35 or, well, there was only 
one real option and it wasn't (A). So we're traveling the 
countrv with a DigiBeta tape in hand. And let me tell you, 
you show up with a tape of your gorgeously shot movie and 

Gadi Harel's Nights Like These follows a restless shadow. 



44 The Independent | January/February 2004 



see it listed in the festival catalog as "video" and it breaks 
your poor little independent filmmaking heart. I guess if 
there was one saving grace, it's that the film still looked 
great— better than shot-on-video projected video. 

The point is, I do not want to go through this again— I do 
not want to shoot Nights Like These on Super 16, or 16, and for 
either technical or, more likely, financial reasons have to 
resort to video in the end. Which is why, when Bill Miller 
(who loves the script but is booked along with his Super 16 
package for at least the next six months) suggests we consid- 
er shooting on DV, it feels sort of right (after the sting fades). 

LATE APRIL 2002 

Look, this movie, Nights Like These, will either work or not 
work based largely on fragile lighting situations alone. We 
need shadows moving around (while maintaining a consis- 
tent look), steady lighting in the rest of the shot, and our 
shadow actors out of frame. Immediate playback will be 
essential to see if we get the shot right. DV will easily allow 
us to play with contrast (for the shadow-consistency) and 
add subtle digital effects in post at a more affordable rate. 
This is me convincing myself that DV is the right choice. 

LATE MAY 2002 

I meet with DP/director Tim McCann (Revolution No. 9) in 
hopes that he will shoot Nights Like These. He's been 
researching DV for his own film, a feature called Nowhere 
Man, so I think he's probably renting a camera for his 
movie and maybe I can piggyback. But Tim insists that the 
only way he'll shoot my movie is if I use film. I voice my 
concern and Tim assures me he will get it all on film, all in- 
camera with no needed post effects. His argument turns 
out to be simple and true: If I want it to look like film noir, 
keep in mind that those movies— Double Indemnity, The Big 
Heat, Detour, and every other one— were not shot on DV. 

I dare not bring up the rumored and perhaps somewhat 
mythological "film filter" my DV enthusiast friends all 
whisper about. 

MOMENTS LATER 

I suddenly realize 16mm is the PERFECT choice (I'm so 
easy). I'm going to make a film and I'll end up with a. film. 
Not like last time when I had no choice but to dump it to 
tape. Next year, I'm carrying canisters around. 

JULY 25, 2002 

We're midway through our five-day shoot. Running up a 
set of stairs with Tim and Charlie (the AC) I realize one 
tremendous advantage of 16mm: its weight. Not just for 
quick one-off shots like this one from a roof, but even, con- 
sidering our total of eight cases of equipment, for entire 
crew moves from one location to another across town. Less 
weight means moving the camera faster and more set-ups 



per day, which translates to a shorter shoot and less money 
spent. Also, start-of-day set-ups and end-of-day break- 
downs are easier so everyone's happy. And in the case of 
this one shot, happiness is key since it's on the tail end of a 
twelve-hour day, and the idea of tagging on a whole new 
location before we call it a night doesn't go over huge. But 
the three of us charge up the stairs and get a great moment 
on film so quickly (and a shot that turns out to be one of 
my favorites in the movie) that it actually ends our day on 
a surprisingly high note. 

MAY 10, 2003 

Nights Like These premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival after 
I deliver my DigiBeta master to them. Yep, that's right. 
DigiBeta. No canisters because there's no money for nega- 
tive cutting, nothing left for a blow-up, and I'm sending 
around a tape of Nights Like These just as I swore I wouldn't 
do. Tribeca, though, with its American Express backing, is 
able to create a high-def conversion of my tape and the pro- 
jection is, I swear, unlike anything I've seen before. It's sim- 
ply perfect, and what Tim the DP describes (better than I 
could) as: "the rich, lush, hyper-reality that film provides." 

LESSON LEARNED 

The thing is, 16mm is the perfect format for short films. 
There are so many people with 16mm cameras that finding 
someone you'd need anyway (in our case, the AC) who has 
one isn't going to be terribly difficult. And these days I'll 
bet people with film cameras are dying to use them. So get 
them on board, pay them whatever their rate is and see if 
their camera can be included in the price (or at least drasti- 
cally discounted). Chances are you'll never have to rent a 
camera of your own. 

Do what you can to raise the little extra you'll need to 
shoot on 16. Before Nights Like These, I thought what format 
you ended up with was more important. But I think I was 
wrong. It's what you get it on that counts. And for shorts, 
begin with 16mm, have it all dumped to tape immediately, 
create a digital master, and don't worry about going back 
to film if you don't want to or can't. It's still worth it. 

Yes, with DV you don't have the same film and develop- 
ing costs. But especially for a short that runs between five 
and 10 minutes, these costs are completely affordable. So 
find a student, give them a co-producer credit, and use 
their discounts on both. It's still going to cost a little, but 
this is a worthwhile expense. This is the few hundred bucks 
that, when you're watching the movie down the line, you'll 
realize were the best few hundred you spent. Every other 
expense is there no matter the format: lighting, editing, 
sounds, music, etc. Whatever you shoot on, you'll need 
these. Don't blame film. And don't blame me. D 

Gddi Harel is a Los Angeles based filmmaker. 



January/ February 2004 | The Independent 45 




Digital 
Intermediates 

IT'S NOT YOUR PARENTS' TECHNIQUE 

By Paul Boutin 



Your next film probablv won't be digitally mas- 
tered. But the one after that probably will be. 
That's how fast the costs of a digital interme- 
diate are falling, even as the quality and bene- 
fits of digital mastering rise. Sure, digital video doesn't 
have the warmth of Super 16 or 35, and you're not about to 
throw away everything you've learned about capturing a 
scene on film. But we're not talking about shooting your 
scenes with a digital camera, or distributing your feature 
on DVD. We're talking about digital intermediates: A digi- 
tal scan made from film at the mastering stage of a movie. 



46 The Independent | January/February 2004 



Film is still usually the best choice for shooting and pro- 
jection, but a digital step in between can bring out the best 
from film. 

The stunning look of the Coen brothers' O Brother, Where 
Art Thou?, for example, which used a digital intermediate 
for the whole film, killed the myth that digital mastering 
was onlv for sterile, cartoonish sci-fi action films. Bit; stu- 



Examples of digital mastering using intermediates (clock- 
wise): The Kid Stays in the Picture; Names in Marble; the 
photo scanned to create a scene in The Kid; Baltic Sea. 



o I 
g I 

d I 



dio blockbusters are already moving to digital intermedi- 
ates (the terms "digital intermediate" and "digital master- 
ing" are often used interchangeably) for entire films rather 
than just special effects sequences. Or, to put it another 
way, digital intermediates are enabling every frame of film 
to be a special effects scene. So much so that Cinesite 
Hollywood, the former special effects house, switched its 
focus entirely to digital intermediates in 2003. 

Independent filmmakers can go digital, too— you don't 
need to be shooting Star Wars Episode HI or S.W.A.T. 2 to 
benefit from the technology. Filmmaker Victor Nunez 
used a digital intermediate for Coastlines, a human drama 



processing tricks like bleach bypass. The processed film is 
then run through a scanner that digitizes each frame into 
a computer file. The digitized frames are much more flexi- 
ble than film when it comes to color correction and adjust- 
ment, conformity, and the sort of special effects viewers 
don't notice, from raising or lowering contrast on parts of 
a scene to replacing the entire sky in the opening scenes of 
Kevin Costner's Open Range. Once the filmmaker signs off 
on the completed master, it can be printed onto film again 
for screening or release. 

Nunez admits to being a longtime computer enthusiast 
who had wanted to work with digital technology. 




set in rural Florida. First screened at Sundance 2002 and 
slated for release by IFC in 2004, Coastlines is the last movie 
that would make viewers think "digital," yet it may have 
been the first indie to use a digital intermediate for the 
entire film. Nunez cut a deal with Technicolor's digital 
post-production setup at Technique in Burbank to use 
Coastlines as a test run for Technique's then-new facilities. 

To create a digital intermediate, the cinematographer 
shoots to film and develops the film normally, without any 

Robert Evans and Ali MacGraw enjoy a romantic dance at the 
premiere of The Godfather. A series of archival photographs 
were scanned and layered in Adobe Photoshop, then animated 
and illuminated with glowing wisps in 3DS Max. Final composit- 
ing and additional effects were done in Abobe After Effects. 



Nonetheless, a digital intermediate opened up new film- 
making opportunities that would have been undoable— or 
unaffordable— on straight film. "I wanted Coastlines to have 
almost a fairytale quality to it. It's a romantic triangle, 
something like a country song. We set out to give the whole 
film a glow. You have a much more rigorous ability to 
manipulate contrast and colors in the digital domain than 
with film." Nunez liked the intense colors of Kodak's 
newer film stock, but not its darker blacks. At the interme- 
diate stage, it was easy to adjust the entire movie's color to 
lighten shadows and blacks without washing out brighter 
colors as well. The trick is that color correction software 
fixes each pixel individually, so it can skip over those that 
don't need adjustment. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 47 



Nunez found some accidental benefits, too. "There 
was a sequence where Josh Brolin, as a deputy sheriff in 
a small Florida town, has to disarm a drunkard. We 
shot in a dock area with a lot of oyster beds and oyster 
dust. As much as we tried to keep things clean, we 
ended up with about 150 feet of film that was critical to 
us that had a scratch in it. Traditionally, you'd crop 
inside the damage, but there were parts of the scene 



Pros/Cons off Digital Intermediates 



Color correction and adjustment 

Digital post-processing goes far beyond what's possi- 
ble in the darkroom, letting you manipulate each pixel 
and color individually. 

Conforming 

Scenes with different lighting can be made to look like 
the same shoot. 

Post- production cinematography 

No need to decide on bleach bypass or other custom 
film exposure techniques before you shoot. Software 
can add them later. This lets you change your mind 
after you see the results. 

Compositing 

You might not believe what's possible with digital 
compositing software until you get a demo. Beyond 
traditional greenscreen techniques, it's possible to add, 
remove, or mersre scene elements, even to an outdoor 
scene with natural lighting. 

All of the above 

Best of all, in the digital domain you can perform mul- 
tiple adjustments at the same time to each frame with- 
out beating up on a strip of film, and undo them with 
a single keystroke if you don't like the results. When 
you're done, you can stamp out a high-definition DVD 
master, or print out a film for cinematic release. 



Price 

Expect to spend at least S75.000— S250.000 to digi- 
tally master a full-length film. The good news: This 
price will tall by half in a year or two, as personal 
computers get more powerful and digital mastering 
studios proliferate. 



outside that area we wanted to keep. Or we could 
reshoot, which was prohibitive. But in the digital 
process, that scratch just disappeared." 

Digital software can also act as a sort of virtual gaffer for 
dealing with lighting problems. "Let's say you have a shot 
that has very contrasting lighting," Nunez says. "Most of 
the shots are fine but there's one that's not right— like in 
Coastlines, there's a store where the villains of the piece 
work. It was a dark place that had sunlight coming in 
through one window." The light, alas, was too bright, mak- 
ing it impossible to see part of the set in the developed film. 
"We were able to go in there and just change the contrast 
on the area around the window, letting viewers see into the 
room where they couldn't before." Technique showed 
Nunez they could even remove the graininess from 16mm 
footage, if he wanted. 

A more powerful effect came into play in a scene where 
Josh Brolin pulls Timothy Olyphant from a burning boat. 
"There was really very little smoke or fire," Nunez says. 
"The compositor simply laid a flame from somewhere 
else into the shot. You would never know it. It's the kind 
of thing you don't even want to tell people until after 
they've seen it." In another scene, Nunez and crew speed- 
ed up the near-collision of two cars in an expensive heli- 
copter shot without sending the film out for Varispeed 
work— Nunez took home the digital frames from the 
scene and used a Macintosh computer to cut individual 
frames from the scene, speeding up the apparent motion 
of the cars. The result was not only more dramatic, it did- 
n't require an extra generation of film that might mis- 
match the rest of the picture. Carrying his feature film 
home on a FireWire drive was a turning point for Nunez: 
"I never cease to be amazed that these images that were 
going to be part of our 35mm print were right there on 
our little Mac." 

But Nunez' little Mac is exactly the harbinger of a 
new era any technology pundit would look for. Just as 
personal computers took over still photography and 
music production in the 90s. they're about to radically 
change the landscape of filmmaking. It took a while 
longer for the Mac to show up in the movie studio 
because there's so much more information in a few sec- 
onds of film than in a magazine photo or a three- 
minute pop song. Once the Macs start showing up, 
though, it's only a matter of time. 

Another film that made its debut at Sundance 2002 was 
mastered entirely on a Macintosh: The Kid Stays in the 
Picture, the documentary of Hollywood legend Robert 
Evans, directed by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen. 
Produced from archival footage, still photos, and print 
articles digitized one by one, the entire movie was then 
uploaded into a Mac by technicians from Edgewprx, who 
performed a masterwork of digital cut-and-paste work and 



48 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



color adjustment to conform the sources and give Evans' 
history a unique, consistent look. 

Edgeworx president Dave Tecson says the hardware 
setup for The Kid cost about $35,000— a beefed-up 
Macintosh, plus film scanning and printing hardware. 
"The cheapest solution is still 
cutting a negative and doing 
one pass of color timing," he 
says. "But that's changing." 
And for Burstein and Morgen, 
a digital master enabled them 
to get their movie to Sundance 
on time and on budget. Pressed 
for time and costs, Edgeworx 
lowered the resolution of the 
working copy from accepted 
cinematic levels (2048 columns 
of pixels in each frame, com- 
monly called "2K") to high-def- 
inition video, or HD, which 
only uses 1920 pixels across. 
"HD takes advantage of how 
human eyes see in order to save 
data," Tecson explains. "That 
let us work faster. The Sun- 
dance deadline was Thanksgiv- 
ing. We screened in HD at 
Sundance, at the Eccles theatre, 
and it looked great." 

Besides advanced color cor- 
rection and compositing, 
today's software can also emu- 
late the look of traditional film 

production tricks, such as skipping the bleach process to 
mute colors and blacken blacks. "Things like skip-bleach 
are kind of scary," Tecson says. "You make that choice as 
you're processing the film and cross your fingers." If you 
don't like the results, you're stuck. With a digital interme- 
diate, you can apply a skip-bleach look to the entire film- 
in fact, you can fiddle with different levels of the effect to 
see what they look like. Unlike film, there's no commit- 
ment. If it doesn't work, just hit the Undo key. The same 
applies to rendering a dream sequence in black and white, 
or changing the color of an actor's eyes. 

Nunez and Tecson both say that the most crucial step— 
and the biggest unknown— when going digital is the one 
where your carefully exposed and developed film is con- 
verted into digital bits by a scanner. A carefully done scan 
can be printed back out to film without a visible genera- 
tion of degradation in quality— something just not possible 
with film. But a poor quality scan can undermine your 
work by not transferring it truthfully into the computer. 
This happened with an early version of Coastlines, according 



Should your next film use a digital 
intermediate? 

Edgeworx offers these guidelines to decide 
whether a digital intermediate is worth the 
potentially higher price to help bring your 
vision to the screen. 

Are you merging different source materials? 

Digital mastering can bring continuity and 
clarity to archival footage. 

Are you shooting outdoors? 

You'll be able to conform shots from different 
days, or even different times of the day. It 
might not reduce your shooting budget, but it 
will pay off in a consistent look. 

Do you want a custom color palette? 

A digital colorist can literally work wonders. 

Do you plan lots of special effects? 

You might as well put the whole movie into 
the computer. 



to Nunez. They were able to rescan the film, but the process 
can be expensive. 

In early 2004, the biggest roadblock to a digital interme- 
diate for independent filmmakers is the price— estimates of 
the costs of a digital intermediate range from $75,000- 

$250,000 per project, with per- 
haps a twenty-five to thirty-five 
percent premium in cost over a 
straight film approach. Nunez 
suggests that independent film- 
makers use their already sharp- 
ened entrepreneurial skills to 
find and make deals on digital 
work, as he did for Coastlines. 
Look for newer companies that 
may be eager to jumpstart their 
client list, or that are short on 
work for the coming year. Like 
any other aspect of filmmaking, 
it's all about The Deal. 

In another year or two, 
though, digital intermediates 
won't be a high-tech curiosity. 
They'll be a standard part of 
the production process, just 
like Photoshop at a magazine 
or Pro Tools in a music stu- 
dio. As personal computers 
continue to double in power 
every two years, the entry level 
cost of doing digital work is 
falling sharply, and the num- 
ber of companies able to offer 
digital intermediates keeps climbing. Those two factors 
will push prices down quickly, even as the quality of 
results gets better. 

Nunez has just one worry about the pending invasion 
of home computers into movie studios. "There's no sub- 
stitute for delivering the best negative you can. You know 
that saying from music studios, 'We'll fix it in the mix?' 
You have to be careful or you begin to lose the power of 
the very limitations that make independent films 
unique. The big-budget pictures are all starting to look 
the same now, because they all use the same tricks. The 
very technology that can free a filmmaker can cut them 
off from the life and energy they're trying to capture." 

It seems early to worry. But Nunez says, in anticipa- 
tion of more and quick advances in hardware, software, 
and expertise: "In six months, everything you write will 
be wrong." D 

Paul Boutin (paul@paulboutin.com) is a contributing editor for 
Wired magazine and a technology columnist for Slate. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 49 



» 




1* 


1 



The Medium 
is the Maker 

AFFORDABLE OPTIONS FOR UNIQUE VISUALS 

By Elizabeth Angell 




Filmmakers are often touted for their "vision"— 
their singular sense of how a movie should 
look, sound, and feel. But every film starts on 
paper, with a screenplay or even just an idea for 
a character or a mood. A director must partner with a cin- 
ematographer, a production designer, and others to 
translate that idea into a compelling, visually sophisticat- 
ed narrative. Below, how three filmmaking teams on tight 
budgets brought their stories to the screen using film, 
digital video, high def, and anything else they could get 
their hands on. 

XX/XY 

Written and Directed by Austin Chick 
Director of Photography: Uta Briesewitz 
Production Design: Judy Becker 

Austin Chick began his first film XX/XY by imagining the 
most common of male fantasies, two girls and a guy. "I sort 
of liked the idea of exploring how awkward and uncom- 
fortable a situation like that can be, as opposed to what 
everyone thinks it will be," says Chick. "It's hard enough 
for two strangers to go to bed together, let alone three." 
The writer-director wanted to launch his career with a 
small, personal movie that would evoke the newest wave of 
French films and 70s-era anti-romantic comedies like 
Carnal Knowledge and Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, films 
Chick calls "fucked-up relationship movies." 

For XX/XY, Chick wrote an unconventional script about 
an aspiring filmmaker named Coles Burroughs, who pur- 
sues a beautiful college student named Sam. He falls into 
bed with Sam and her friend Thea, though their menage 
quickly becomes uncomfortable. Coles and Sam begin to 
date in earnest, but their relationship eventually disinte- 
grates as well. In the second half of the movie, the audience 
encounters Coles, Thea, and Sam ten years later. Coles is 
still an indecisive narcissist, only now he has money and 
comfortable furniture. His long-time girlfriend, Claire, 
realizes he is still in love with Sam and demands that he 
make a real commitment to her. She makes a speech at the 
film's climax that will resonate with everyone who has ever 
worried that they were someone's "consolation prize." 
When the film closes, the audience is still unsure whether 
Coles has made a definitive choice, or if it is Sam who has 
finally left him behind. 

Chick, who initially trained as a visual artist, knew he 
wanted to give the two halves of his film distinct palettes. 
He and production designer, Judy Becker, used blues and 
yellows to evoke the aimless, slightly degraded world that 
the younger characters inhabit. They frequent bars and 



Facing page: top: Maya Shange in Austin Chick's XX/XY; 
bottom: Danvers mental hospital shot during a location 
scout for Session 9. 



parties, travel on the subway, and do almost everything at 
night, lit by flickering fluorescents. As things begin to go 
wrong between the characters, the blues and yellows begin 
to bleed into green— an uneasy, sickly color. By the second 
half, Coles, Claire, Sam and Thea live in chilly, beige, 
Pottery Barn interiors— "blank and neutral," says Becker. 

Despite his firm ideas, Chick didn't want his audience to 
take active note of XX/XYs production design: "I didn't 
want to do anything that looked overly designed or styl- 
ized." So Becker used the blue and yellow elements spar- 
ingly. "We discovered together that a very little went a long 
way," she says. "We incorporated all the colors, but in just 
one place or in a muddied version on the walls." 

Still, XX/XY has a tonal consistency that grew out of 
Chick and Becker's commitment to their limited color 
range. That range only expands, says Chick, when the char- 
acters venture outside. "The scenes I like least in the movie 
are the exteriors, because I couldn't control those," he says, 
laughing. "All the different colored shirts that people are 
wearing and the bright green foliage— that drives me crazy." 

Initially, Chick thought he would make his movie on 
DV. The limited scope and intimate nature of the story 
seemed perfect for cheap-and-easy digital. But as Chick 
began to describe how he wanted his movie to look to his 
cinematographer, Uta Briesewitz, she realized that he 
wanted to make a film in the true sense of the word. 
Briesewitz, who also shot the psychological thriller Session 
9, and is DP for HBO's The Wire, wanted XX/XY to look 
lush and jewel-like, even when the characters live in 
cramped, messy apartments, drink too much, and sleep 
with the wrong people. It needed to be dirty and pretty at 
the same time. "I felt that [the movie] really needed to have 
a certain elegance to it," she says. 

Chick had planned on making a $ 120,000 DV movie and 
found himself in the end on a $500,000 35mm film shoot 
in fifty-seven locations. "Both Uta and Judy were amazing," 
says Chick. "And I think the movie looks like it cost more 
to make than it actually did." 

"That's really the goal," adds Briesewitz. "Everv inde- 
pendent film should look more expensive than it was." 

The Shape of Things 
Written and Directed by Neil LaBute 
Director of Photography: James L. Carter 
Production Design: Lynette Meyer 

Until last year, Neil LaBute kept his two identities separate. 
To theater audiences, he was the author of a series of dark, 
dispassionate social comedies, and to movie audiences, he 
was the filmmaker behind an entirely different series of 
dark, dispassionate social comedies. But in 2001, LaBute 
decided to transplant his play The Shape of Things from the 
stage to the screen. 

Shape premiered in London in 2001, starring four actors, 



January/ February 2004 | The Independent 51 



Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Gretchen Mol, and Frederick 
Weller. A defiant arr student named Evelyn (Weisz) woos 
Adam (Rudd). a hapless undergrad, and over the course of 
their relationship, she transforms him from an overweight, 
self-effacing loser into a svelte, confident boyfriend whose 
makeover baffles and alienates his friends. Evelyn's coup de 
grace is talking Adam into a nose job. 

Like many of LaBute's works. Shape is about the superfi- 
cialitv and brutality of ordinary human interaction. The 
plav's climax is Evelyn's presentation of her mysterious 
final art project. Adam and his friends, Jenny and Phil, 
played by Mol and Weller, take their seats in the audience— 
in the stage production, they are quite literally sprinkled in 
among theatergoers— and listen as Evelyn describes Adam 
as her creation. Feigning love, she manipulated him into 
changing everything about himself in order to please her. 
Adam has even, in the end, given up his old friends and 
asked Evelyn to marry him. 

In its theatrical incarnation. Shape was deliberately spare. 
Minimalist sets and a few carefully chosen props filled in 
the details of the various locations: a museum, a doctor's 
lounge, an apartment, a playground. Jenny and Phil were 
dressed in preppy neutrals and Adam in baggy, indistinct 
college-kid garb. Only Evelyn popped on stage, her punky, 
bright clothes demanding as much attention as her cruelly 
ambitious project. 

Shortly before LaBute brought the play— complete with 
the same cast and sets— to New York City in the fall of 
2001, a producer offered him funds to turn Shape into a 
film. He jumped at the chance, but decided not to change 
much about his production. Shape would keep its essential 
form and message. Instead of the usual fifty to sixty scenes, 
the movie version would have only ten just like the play. 
And instead of slashing awav swaths of dialogue to make 
room for the kind of visual storytelling that is impossible 
on stage, LaBute made only a few minor changes to accom- 
modate his new medium. 

The resulting movie, which was shot on film in 18 days, 
may be the most rehearsed movie ever made. Rudd, Weisz, 
Mol, and Weller had been running their lines for a year. 

"With the film, I was trving to achieve something akin to 
the theatrical experience," says LaBute. "I like it when a 
movie is basically two people talking. If the script is good 
enough, I don't think vou have to have a lot more than that 
to make it interesting." To that end, LaBute used the cam- 
era to create a kind of static frame in which the actors deliv- 
ered their dialogue. He seldom cut between his characters; 
instead, he showed them reacting to each other and the 
space they occupied. In addition, LaBute and his DP, James 
Carter, rarely moved the camera and almost never quickly. 
In the final scene, a swooping camera movement startles 
the viewer precisely because the camera has moved that way 
onlv a few times before. 



There are of course, significant differences between the 
theatrical and film versions. This is largely because a play 
has one thing going for it that a movie will never have: an 
audience just doesn't expect it to look real. On stage, for 
instance, Rudd wore baggy clothes and slumped over 
when he was the old Adam. When changed by Evelyn, 
Rudd donned a form-fitting costume and carried himself 
with more grace and confidence. But onscreen, LaBute 
supplied Rudd with devices to add nuance to his charac- 
ter's alteration. He wore pads that made him look over- 
weight, and he had prosthetics in his nose, which came 
out after the operation. 

"Everything that Paul conveyed on stage was through is 
own bodywork, what was in the text, and with the cos- 
tumes," says LaBute. "And of course the added ingredient 
of suspension of disbelief. In a theater, the audience says: 
'I'll give you this. I know he's not losing 25 pounds over the 
course of two hours, but just let me sort of believe it.'" 

At the movies, an audience requires proof. 

The story's location also had to be more concrete on 
film. The play took place at a Midwestern college. The site 
was left deliberately vague, and allusions to place were only 
meant to evoke the insular cocoon of a university town. On 
screen, however, Shape's venue is clearly Southern 
California. The palm trees and idyllic campus setting offset 
both Adam's awkwardness and Evelyn's defiant remove 
from the mainstream. The sets, in particular, were a 
marked contrast. Where the stage was almost bare, Shape's 
filmic scenery was maximalist, a heightened version of real- 
ity. Evelyn's apartment is a riot of primary colors and lit- 
tered with her art projects; Phil's living room a goofy beige 
lair, cluttered with knickknacks a college student might 
describe as "cool." 

Even though production designer Lynette Meyer, who 
also designed the costumes for both the stage and movie 
version, exaggerated each film set, she had to be careful not 
to distract audiences too much from their focus on the 
characters. Rooms could be bright and playful, but they 
had to be believable. She and LaBute may have been going 
for theatrical, but they were still making a movie. 

Blue Vinyl 

Directed by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand 

Director of Photography: Daniel B. Gold 

In 1998, Dan Gold and Judith Helfand set themselves one 
of the most difficult tasks in contemporary filmmaking: 
They would make a documentary about industrial pollu- 
tion and environmental toxins that didn't bore their audi- 
ence into a stupor. 

Blue Vinyl is their account of the siding on Helfand's par- 
ents' house in Merrick, Long Island. In 1994, Florence and 
Ted Helfand replaced their deep red, wooden clapboards 
with powder blue vinyl, a supposedly safe, durable materi- 



52 The Independent | January/February 2004 



al that would fit in nicely in their quiet, suburban neigh- 
borhood. But their daughter, Judith, wasn't convinced that 
vinyl was harmless. Helfand's cinematic investigation into 
her parents' blue siding took her to Lake Charles, 
Louisiana, a city largely dependent on the $6 billion vinyl 
industry; Venice, Italy, where magistrates have charged 
vinyl manufacturers with poisoning the city's lagoon; and 
back to Merrick, where she finally convinced her mother 
and father to trade in their vinyl for a building material 
that was not a hazard at any point in its life cycle. 

Environmental films are 
a particularly tough sell. 
Documentaries that have 
done well in recent years 
have featured adorable 
children, breathtaking 
footage of birds, or Michael 
Moore. Films about envi- 
ronmental damage, in con- 
trast, are usually heavy on 
the science and on depress- 
ing images of sick people 
or spoiled landscapes. They 
are not crowd pleasers. To 
be sure, there is a small, 
committed audience that 
would watch paint dry if it 

were lead paint and the documentary exposed corporate 
malfeasance. But Gold and Helfand did not want to 
pitch their film to the converted— they hoped for a new 
kind of audience. 

"We wanted to reach middle-class, average consumers 
who are going to buy something because it's cheap and 
effective, and they're not going to have to pay a whole lot of 
attention to it over the long haul," says Helfand. "They are 
the battleground between the environmental movement 
and industry. Everybody wants those people." Gold and 
Helfand knew Blue Vinyl had to forge a vivid link between 
their audience, the workers who make vinyl, the people 
who live near production plants, and the corporations that 
work so hard to convince the average consumer that vinyl 
is a harmless and endlessly useful plastic. To do this, the 
filmmakers used two primary tools: humor and a com- 
pelling aesthetic. 

Their first trick was to make Blue Vinyl resolutely per- 
sonal. Because everything in the movie is seen, quite literal- 
ly, from Helfand's perspective, the film is never clinical or 
pedantic. As Helfand— as well as Gold's camera— travel 
from Long Island to Louisiana, Italy, and California, she 
totes a piece of blue vinyl with her. It is a constant reminder 
of both the wide-ranging effects of the plastic industry and 

Directors Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold in Blue Vinyl. 




her own family's implication in that story. The difficult 
task of situating the viewer in a dozen different locations 
becomes a disarming visual joke: Helfand's vinyl scrap 
bobs along at a Lake Charles Mardi Gras celebration, in a 
gondola on the Grand Canal, and on a car dashboard over 
the Golden Gate bridge. 

The filmmakers also used humor to undercut the sober 
science that they knew they had to deliver. They commis- 
sioned stylishly drawn segments by animator Emily Hubley 
to illustrate the potential toxicity of the vinyl manufactur- 
ing process. And instead of 
filming talking heads in 
cramped university offices, 
the co-directors sat a series 
of experts on plastic chairs 
on the lawn in front of the 
Helfand house. 

From the beginning, 
Gold insisted that the film 
should be beautiful as well 
as entertaining and inform- 
ative. As an experienced 
documentary DP and news 
"shooter," he had been on 
too many shoots where the 
filmmakers grabbed B-roll 
or beauty shots as an after- 
thought on the way to lunch. He knew that the grueling, 
expensive process of filming hundreds of hours of video 
footage would make it easy for him to skimp on precisely 
the kinds of images that would make his film a pleasure 
to watch. "We were always trying to show everyday life 
unfolding against a constant backdrop of industry," says 
Gold. "We worked from the background forward." 

He and Helfand took one trip to Louisiana exclusively 
to shoot landscape and setting shots. They hired a jib 
operator at considerable expense in order to get the 
height they needed for sweeping shots of vinyl factories 
and the surrounding houses. And Gold always insisted 
that they find the most picturesque, appropriate location 
for an interview— even if it meant spending a few extra 
hours standing in front of hay bales on the Northern 
California coast. 

Gold and Helfand's efforts were rewarded with two 
Emmy nominations in 2003 and the 2002 Documentary 
Award for Excellence in Cinematography at Sundance, 
proving that a film with an activist agenda doesn't have to 
be tedious. D 



You can find copies of Blue Vinyl at www.bluevinyl.org, or email 
info@workingfilms.org or call (910) 342-9000. 



Elizabeth Angell is a New York based freelance writer. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 53 




48 Hour 

Picture People 



Ac 7:00 p.m. on a Friday night, more than twen- 
ty teams of filmmakers gather at a local film 
center or bar. In a random drawing one mem- 
ber of each team picks a film genre out of a 
hat. Every team is then given the same character, prop, and 
line of dialogue they're required to include in a film— a film 
they will write, shoot, and edit in less than 48 hours. 

This is the premise behind the 48 Hour Film Project, the cre- 
ation or Washington. DC-based independent filmmakers Mark 
Ruppert and Liz Langston. Inspired by New York's 24-Hour 
Plays. Ruppert and Langston translated the time-restncted the- 
ater production competition into film and video, holding the 
first 48 Hour Film Project in DC in May of 2001. Since then. 
they've expanded the Project to 10 additional US cities, created 
a countrywide offshoot called the National Film Challenge, and 
even taken their idea overseas. Last vear. Auckland, NZ, plaved 
host to a 48 Hour Film Project, and this year, teams will be fight- 
ing the clock in Dublin and Copenhagen. 

Filmmaking teams begin production on their five to 
twelve minute shorts at 7:30 p.m. on Fridav night. Story 
brainstorming is the first order of business. "After the 
'opening ceremonies.' we ordered pizza, bought a case of 



By Derek Loosvelt 

PBR. and began to write." says Geoff O'Brien, director of 
Trash— A Time Travel Odyssey, which won Best in Show in 
New York's 2003 Project. "We didn't stay up too late, 
because we figured out early on that the schedule was pret- 
tv obvious— write on Friday, shoot on Saturday, edit on 
Sunday. We were up [until] about 2:00 a.m. writing and 
storyboarding the shots." Often, teams will talk story until 
midnight, then assign a couple of writers to work into the 
early morning hours to hammer out a script. 
"Preproduction is key." savs Kent Nichols, director of 
Baggage, the best picture winner of the 2003 Los Angeles 
Project. "Know what your resources are— where you can 
shoot, what sort of costumes and props you have access to, 
and then write the script based on those resources." For the 
most part, teams will have something to work with by 8 
a.m. on Saturday, but sometimes, entire teams will have 
been up all night without a script by the morning. 

Given the tight deadline, teams run into all sorts of pro- 
duction problems. The most common are sound problems, 
which can be time consuming to fix. Gaining a false sense 

Team Lucky shot co-producer Andy Birch taking a breather 
during a recent 48 Hour Film Project in Washington D.C. 



54 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



of security is another typical mistake. "Things will be going 
smoothly, teams will stop pressing, and then they'll turn 
around and their time's almost up," says Ruppert, who 
adds, "But the beauty of the time limit is it gives filmmak- 
ers a sense of freedom in that they have to make decisions 
quickly and move on." O'Brien agrees. "It makes you think 
on your feet. With such a short time period in which to 
make an entire film, you're forced to trust your instincts 
and the decisions you make, and to believe you're making 
the best possible film given the nature of the piece." 

Other major challenges come in the editing studio, often 
during the final minutes before the 7:00 p.m. Sunday dead- 
line. Computer crashes are frequent, and unforeseen diffi- 
culties can also arise. During the latest project in Nashville, 
a team called The Freudian Slips couldn't get their tape out 
of their computer, so they ended up filming the computer 
screen. "It still was a funny film that the audience loved," 
says Ruppert. "The amazing thing is just how good the 
majority of these films are. Some just blow us away." 

Team Boondogglers' dark comedy White Bitch Down, win- 
ner of the 2002 national title, 48 Hour Film of the Year, was 
accepted by the Atlanta Film Festival where it won 
$100,000 in finishing costs. Other 48 Hour Film Project 
success stories include LA-based Itty Bitty Films' Realities of 
Love, which placed third at Shriekfest, and LA-based 
Genesis Films' A Life for a Life, which screened at the Los 
Angeles International Short Film Festival. 

Every team that enters and completes a 48 Hour film is 
guaranteed a commercial theater screening, typically held 
the night after the deadline. Awards such as Best Directing, 
Best Editing, and Best Screenplay are handed out in addi- 
tion to Best in Show. In March, the 12 Best in Show city 
winners from 2003 will vie for 48 Hour Film of the Year 
honors at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, 
where the competing films will be screened again. 

Participants in the 48 Hour Film Project run the gamut 
from film professionals working in the industry every day— 
the Boondogglers are full-time advertising producers— to 
first-time moviemakers. The average team size is 15 to 20, 
but the Project has included teams of as many as 50. 

"The screenings and parties that go along with the 48 
Film Hour Project have brought together a lot of inde- 
pendent filmmakers," says Ruppert. "It's really energized 
filmmaking communities." It's also re-energized certain 
filmmakers. Maryland-based Travesty Films, which made 
more than a half dozen short films in the eighties but had- 
n't made a film in over 10 years, attribute their reunion to 
the Project. "We ran out of steam and were just yakking 
about doing stuff," explains Travesty's Dave Nuttcombe. 
"Then the 48 Hour Film Project came along, and we've 
been involved in every DC Project except for one— which 
occurred while we were making our first feature." 

Indeed, says Ruppert, "knowing that you can actually 



finish a film is very powerful. And don't forget that on top 
of a finished film, you get a screening. Watching your film 
on the big screen is what it's all about." D 

For more information, go to www.48hourfilm.com and www.filmchallenge.com. 

Derek Loosvelt is a Brooklyn based freelance writer. 



Fast Film Drive-Thrus 

The Challenge is sponsored by the Chicago based nonprof- 
it Split Pillow, which promotes motion picture improvisation, 
and requires each part of the film to be handed off to a differ- 
ent team, www.splitpillow.com/events/main.html 

The 24-Hour Video Race, now entering its second year, is 
the brainchild of the Video Association of Dallas. Video 
teams create a five-minute or shorter digital video during 
the 24-hour period. The required theme and prop are sur- 
prises until the race begins, www.videofest.org 

An internet-based variation of the 48 Hour Film Project, 
MadelnAWeekend contestants are emailed the informa- 
tion they need to start making their film. The teams com- 
pete in local time, and the films can be presented in any lan- 
guage. Each competition is genre based and, starting in 
2004, films will be screened in theaters in addition to the 
internet. www.MadeInAWeekend.com 

The Vancouver ReelFast 48 Hour Film Festival is open 
to teams of ten people who write, shoot, and edit a ten 
minute (or less) film in 48 hours using an "Inspiration 
Package," which consists of five items: a sound bite, a pho- 
tograph, a location idea, a surprise (prop or other random 
contribution) and a donation to craft services. 
www.REELFASTFILMS.com 

In the manic 24-Hour Film Contest, also held in 
Vancouver, Canada, filmmakers are given different props, 
sayings, and themes to incorporate into their films. The time 
constraints require the use of digital technology, and there is 
a maximum of eight filmmakers per team. www.the24hour- 
filmcontest.com 

The 72-Hour Filmmaker Contest, held in the small town 
of Frederick, Maryland, unleashes teams of filmmakers in a 
three-day frenzy. Each team is given criteria to include in 
their film, which may include props, character names, lines 
of dialogue, and locations. The grand prize is $250. 
www.frederickfilm.org/72hour.html 

-Alyssa Worsham 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 55 



policy 



The FCC Showdown 

CAN INDEPENDENTS WIN THE BATTLE? 
By Matt Dunne 



On October 22, 2003, the 
FCC held a hearing on 
localism in Charlotte. NC. 
FCC chairman Michael 
Powell probably wished he'd stayed home. 
There was a kind of "Showdown at the 
OK Corral" feeling to the whole thine;, 
with nearly 350 witnesses— everyone from 
fundamentalist Chnstians to independ- 
ent film producers and songwriters— 
making strange bedfellows as thev ranted 
and raved at the FCC commissioners. At 
times it seemed that all they had in com- 
mon was their anger. 

For the FCC. whose deliberations over 
licensing and market share rarely attract 
anyone but the wonkiest political insid- 
ers, being at die center of the storm was a 
new experience. .And the Charlotte hear- 



against the new rules— to organize oppo- 
sition across the country Suddenly, the 
FCC and its decision-making process 
were leading on the evening news. Despite 
the opposition, the FCC pushed forward 
and narrowly passed the new rules in June 
on a 3-2 vote. The new rules and the lack 
of public input provoked a maelstrom of 
controversy. Everyone from National 
Rifle .Association executive vice president 
Wayne LaPierre to musician Billv Bragg 
stood up to decry the relaxing of owner- 
ship regulations. "These big media con- 
glomerates are already pushing out diver- 
sin- of political opinion," LaPierre com- 
plained to the Austin-American Statesman. 
Then, on August 20, as political oppo- 
sition in Congress reached a fever pitch, 
the FCC announced that it was embark- 



For the first time in a long 

time, artists and independents 

have a real opportunity to contribute 

to the debate. Unfortunately, we 

may be squandering it. 




ing was supposed to be about localism, 
supposed to give broadcasters in the area 
a chance to explain how they were work- 
ing to preserve local programming and 
news. So where did all the anger come 
from? In order to understand that, you 
have to go back to last winter, when the 
FCC proposed to make a dramatic 
change to its media ownership rules for 
broadcasters— including raising the cap 
on ownership of the national viewing 
audience from thirty-five to forty-five 
percent. 

In what now appears to have been a 
monumental misstep, Powell announced 
that the FCC only had enough monev for 
one public hearing, leading dissenting 
commissioners Michael Copps and 
Jonathan Adelstein— who would vote 



ing on a new initiative to studv localism in 
broadcasting. Hearings would be held in 
six locations and would focus on how- 
broadcasters are serving their local com- 
munities. Cynics said the planned hear- 
ings were political farce, and that the FCC 
was just giving big media companies a 
platform for defending the higher owner- 
ship caps by boasting about their com- 
mitment to localism. With all of the unex- 
pressed anger out there, it was no wonder 
that in Charlotte the commissioners 
faced a rehashing of the debate on the 
new ownership rules, and it's clear that 
whatever the FCC tries to put on the 
agenda at the next hearing— scheduled for 
San Antonio in January 2004— the com- 
missioners are going to get an earful. 
The dangers for independent film and 



video makers and producers are many 
right now. Powell's laissez faire approach 
to regulation could well lead to cross- 
ownership of film and cable delivery com- 
panies and further consolidation in the 
industry. Most problematic is the very 
real possibility of vertical integration. A 
handful of companies could conceivably 
own studios, cable companies, 
\ideo/D\T) rental stores, and moxie the- 
aters, allowing for absolute control over 
the future of the market. We've already 
seen vertical integration in the music 
industry'. Clear Channel, the most auda- 
cious of the high-profile corporate media 
giants, has been accused of using its own- 
ership of ticket distributors, major con- 
cert venues, and a dominant ownership of 
airwaves to ensure artists use all three of 
its services. No airplav unless you use its 
ticket service. No ticket service unless you 
use its venue. The film and \ideo corollary 
should be obvious. 

Along with vertical integration comes 
the possibility of monopsony (the flip 
side of monopoly, when there is no real 
competition between companies that will 
actually purchase a given product or serv- 
ice) through further consolidations. With 
relaxation of ownership regulations, inde- 
pendent film and video makers and pro- 
ducers could see their markets— and their 
ability to charge a fair price for their 
work— disappear. 

So where's the good news? Well, the 
FCC and the issues around consolidation 
finally have the public's attention. 
Constituencies with varied and compet- 
ing interests have now come together to 
oppose consolidation and create grass- 
roots support for localism and diversity of 
voice. While many independent artists 
have portrayed the hearings as an empty 
gesture, the rule changes— and bv exten- 
sion Powell himself— are more vulnerable 
than it may seem. The 3-2 vote by the 
commission makes the rule susceptible to 
court challenge and there's a very real 
chance that Congress will be successful in 
overturning the new torn '-five percent 
ownership cap. 

The Congressional efforts indicate the 
breadth of public anger over the changes. 



56 The Independent | January/February 2004 



While no one pretends that the heanngs 
themselves will result in the voiding of 
the rules passed to date, the FCC is not 
doing this for fun. The commission is at 
least conscious of appearing to be inter- 
ested in what the public has to say. Media 
coverage is keeping the issue front and 
center, and when heanngs unfold in 
Santa Cruz, California, Rapid City, South 
Dakota, Portland, Maine, and 
Washington, DC this year, you can bet 
that the press will be watching. 

For the first time in a long time, artists 
and independents have a real opportunity 
to contribute to the debate. Unfortunately, 
we may be squandering it. For all the noise 
that opponents of consolidation are mak- 
ing, there is little discussion of where we 
should go from here, litde discussion of 
how the FCC should figure in the brave 
new world of media delivery. 

A fundamental problem is that the FCC 
has been using rules generated in the 50s 
and 60s, based on models that, in technolo- 
gy terms, are hundreds of generations old 
There is no longer one mechanism for 
transferring a particular medium. Television 
channels compete with other television 
channels, but also with cable and satellite. 
With this change there has also been a shift 
in the standard for evaluating whether to 
implement a rule that will constrict the free 
market. The law says that the FCC must 
look at "public interest, convenience, and 
necessity." TradinonaUy, the FCC has regu- 
lated emphasizing a perceived public inter- 
est— i.e. diverse ownership of broadcast 
organizations, but the Court of Appeals for 
the DC Circuit seems to be erring on the 
side of the free market, telling the FCC that 
in order to regulate at all it must show 
empirical proof that a new regulation is 
"necessary," and that without it, Amencans 
constitutional rights will be curtailed 

The court's statements were music to 
Powell's ears, but he misstepped by not 
defining what the public interest was in 
the new ownership rules he supported. In 
short, he brought the anger down upon 
himself by passing rules before defining 
what the public good will be under his 
FCC. This series of hearings on localism 
are his first steps in creating that defini- 



tion, and if we don't take this opportuni- 
ty to create a new model for defining pub- 
lic good, Powell's actions show that it will 
be defined for us. 

Those of us working to preserve com- 
petition, choice of voice, and localism, 
must look ahead rather than backward. 
The landscape is new and the emerging 
mediums do allow for the possibility of 
ncher competition. We have the attention 
of the commission and the public, but we 
must aggressively act to define the public 
interest. I encourage the independent 
community to connect, if you haven't 
already, with organizations like the 
Writer's Guild, AIVF, Consumer 
Federation of America, and the Media 
Access Project to bring added strength to 
your efforts and to ensure that those with 
a stake in reversing the current trend are 
focusing on the long-term policy reme- 
dies, not just politics. 

At the wnting of this article, there are 
five more hearings scheduled, and we— 
both the independent community and 
the general public— have got to be there. 
The niles that will really affect the work of 
mdependent film and video makers and 
producers have not yet been passed, but 
they are on the way. Rules that allow for 
the consolidation of film and video out- 
lets may not garner the same widespread 
opposition as the rules allowing for 
broadcast and news ownership. The inde- 
pendent community has the opportuni- 
ty to set a new model for public good in 
the modern age. And all of us must work 
now to frame the debate and create a 
clearly defined public good that protects 
the competitive marketplace and offers a 
wide spectrum of consumers for a variety 
of voices in film and video. It's okay to be 
angry, but if we don't come to the table 
with new definitions of public good, we 
may win the battle but lose the war. D 

See www.aivf.org/advocacy for links to above 
mentioned organizations. 

Matt Dunne is the Democratic state senator of 

Vermont, and founder of the Vermont Film 

Commission. Previously, he saved two and a half 

years as National Director ofAmmCorps VISTA 

(Volunteers in Service to Amenca), and four terms 

as a Vermont state representative. 




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January/ February 2004 | The Independent 57 



technology 



Aaton's Cantar 
& A-Minima 



By Greg Gilpatrick 



A aeon, the innovative 
French camera and 
audio manufacturer, has 
recently released two new 
and remarkable products— the Cantar 
digital audio recorder, and the A- 
Minima Superl6 film camera. The A- 
Minima is a film camera built to oper- 
ate like a D\' camera, while the Cantar 
is a digital audio recorder that oper- 
ates much like a standard reel-to-reel 
recorder, but records to an internal 
hard drive in a way that surpasses 
other digital means like DAT or 
DV cameras. Where DY cam- 
eras (or their operators) regu- 
larly produce timecode errors, 
these new products from 
Aaton. a known pioneer in 
creating timecode recording 
products specifically geared 
toward reliable use of the media 
in post-production, result in a more 
exacting process. 

In November, Aaton loaned me 
both a Cantar and an A-Minima for a 
few days to try out for this article. 
Rather than running drv technical 
tests in a controlled environment. 1 
decided to actually shoot a short nar- 
rative film. After working with the 
equipment for three consecutive 
twelve-hour days of production, I can 
attest that the Cantar and A-Minima 
are both stable and useful products. 
However, as with many products, thev 
are in some ways ingenious, and in 
others less than ideal. 

The Cantar 

The Cantar is a great piece of equip- 
ment that could very possibly revolu- 
tionize the way location sound is 
recorded. Not only does the Cantar 
record high quality- digital audio but 
it saves important information that 



proves invaluable during post-pro- 
duction. The Cantar saves the audio 
onto files that can be easily trans- 
ferred to a computer for immediate 
use in editing or mixing. Of all the 
ways I have seen audio recorded onto 
a separate device during production, 
the Cantar provides the smoothest 
and best method. 

With its large control knob and cir- 
cular meters on the front, anybody 
ramiliar with location sound record- 




ing will notice how much the Cantar 
looks like the standard analog 
recorders from Nagra. But that's 
where the similarities end. The Cantar 
is a specialized computer that process- 
es audio digitally and records it to a 
file on its own hard drive along with 
timecode, scene and take, and the 
time of dav. A complete rundown of 
the Cantar's technical features could 
take up this entire magazine, but the 
key things to know about the Cantar 
are that it can record up to six analog 
inputs along with two digital inputs 
in either 16-bit or 24-bit audio for- 
mats. It can also mix tracks together 
during recording, and offers both reg- 
ular potentiometers for level adjust- 
ment and linear faders for controlling 
the mix. A full rundown of the 
Cantar's features and technical specs 
can be found on Aaton's website 
(www.aaton.com). 



Before I tested the Cantar, I was 
apprehensive about several aspects of 
its design. Recording to a hard drive 
allows for the potentially catastrophic 
loss of all recorded audio when the 
hard drive fails. The Cantar is basical- 
ly a specialized computer with manv 
of its features implemented as soft- 
ware that could end up being buggy 
and fail to work properly— especially 
since Aaton is not known for conduct- 
ing much software engineering. After 
three days of using the Cantar (and an 
unfinished pre-release version to 
boot), however, it's clear that Aaton 
has developed a product that can be 
counted on to record critical produc- 
tion audio. 

The Cantar has a built-in DVD/CD 

recorder that allows for backing up 
audio files, even while running 
around on a location or docu- 
mentary shooting. Even better, 
a built-in Fire Wire port allows 
•a^ backing up files and re-record- 
t j ing to a second hard drive for 

redundant recording. The 
Cantar's method is even better 
than recording to a magnetic tape 
because it is built to create multiple 
copies of recordings with very little has- 
sle and no generation loss in quality. 

Though the Cantar is constructed 
to mimic the controls of a standard 
audio recorder, even an experienced 
audio recordist may not feel imme- 
diately comfortable setting up its 
initial configuration. Cantar's fea- 
ture set is so deep that it could 
potential!}' take hours of practice 
use before employing it effectively 
on a production. Once the technical 
controls of the Cantar are under- 
stood and set up, though, it is actu- 
ally quite simple to operate. 

Where the Cantar's features really 
shine is in post-production. At the 
end of each day, I connected the 
Cantar into my Mac via Fire Wire and 
copied the files from the Cantar onto 
the computer. Once the files were in 

The Cantar digital audio recorder. 



58 The Independent | January/February 2004 



the computer, I imported them into 
Avid Xpress Pro and they immediately 
showed up in a bin logged with infor- 
mation like timecode, scene and take, 
and the time it was recorded. With 
each recording already logged, it's 
much easier to work with the sound at 
the editing stage than with unlogged 
audio files from an analog or digital 
tape that need to be listened to for 
determining which shots they corre- 
spond to. 

As to be expected, there are a few 
things that could be improved about 
the Cantar, starting with its price. 
Though the Cantar is a great piece of 
equipment, $15,000 is a lot of money 
for an independent filmmaker. 
Professional sound recordists who are 
paid for their work on a regular basis 
might not find the price much of an 
obstacle, but for independents to use 
it on a regular basis, the price would 
have to be about half as much. 
Hopefully, the unit's price will drop as 
the technology evolves. 

Beyond the price, my only major 
complaint was that we found it diffi- 
cult to scan through files as we played 
back our takes on set. Other than that, 
I was very impressed with the Cantar 
and regretted having to give it back. I 
am now in Cantar withdrawal. 

A-Minima 

I didn't have as great an experience 
with the A-Minima as with the Cantar. 
Though the A-Minima is by no means 
a bad product, it is not the ideal cam- 
era for many types of shoots. About 
the size and weight of a DV camera 
like the Sony PD150, the A-Minima is 
clearly designed primarily for people 
who need a small and light high-qual- 
ity film camera outside of a studio 
environment. Though it looks like a 
DV camera, the A-Minima shoots 200- 
foot Super 16 film rolls that can be 
printed to 35, regular 16, or trans- 
ferred to HD video. The widescreen 
aspect ratio of Super 16 is a good fit 
with the wider frame of HD video. 
Kodak's web site even lists the A- 



Minima as "the world's smallest, most 
affordable HD camera." 

The A-Minima does offer an 
impressive array of high-tech features. 
It generates timecode that can be used 
to slave other timecode devices like 
the Cantar; it has a built-in interval- 
ometer that allows for any frame rate 
up to 50 fps; and it records 
AatonCode timecode to the film. 
With all these features built into a 
small and light camera, the A-Minima 
appeared at first to be the ideal cam- 
era for independent production. 
However, my experience with the A- 
Minima, while far from a complete 
disappointment, did not live up to my 
expectations. 

My number one complaint with the 
A-Minima is that it is awkward to 
load. My crew and I made several 
attempts to load it, only to find sever- 
al times that it was loaded wrong and 
in need of reloading. To see the 
process of loading the A-Minima, 
watch the video on Abel CineTech's 
web site (www.abelcine.com ). Adding 
to our frustration with the A-Minima 
is that it is surprisingly loud. Even 
after blimping the camera with a 
towel and jacket, the sound of the 
camera can be heard in the back- 
ground of all our sync-sound shots. 

Part of what makes it possible to 
produce such a small camera is that 
Aaton partnered with Kodak to pack- 
age their film on a special 200-foot 
roll made exclusively for the A- 
Minima. 200 feet of film provides 
twice the amount of film as the regu- 
lar 100-foot daylight spool used in 
other small cameras, but it is still half 
the amount of most cameras which 
use a full 400-foot roll. The result was 
that we ended up taking more time to 
reload the camera and often found 
ourselves at the end of a roll without 
enough film left for a full shot. 

Since Kodak worked with Aaton on 
the A-Minima, only Kodak stock is 
available for the A-Minima. 
Personally, I prefer Kodak stock so 
that was not an issue during my test 



shoot. Considering that the A- 
Mimma is especially suited for filming 
in documentary and location environ- 
ments, it makes sense that Aaton 
worked with Kodak to provide film- 
makers with access to Kodak's Vision 
stock that is more forgiving of varying 
lighting situations. Still, it would be 
nice to have access to a broader variety 
of stocks. 

I would suggest the A-Minima as an 
MOS (shooting without sound 
recorded at the same time) camera 
where a small and light camera would 
be best. If you do plan on using the A- 
Minima as your primary camera 
where sound will be recorded, make 
sure you are prepared to cover the 
camera with something to keep its 
sound from reaching the microphone, 
and make sure that whoever loads the 
camera is comfortable with the chal- 
lenge of its loading procedure. 

Conclusion 

As I write this article, we are about to 
begin post-production on the film we 
shot while testing these products. 
After any production is finished, the 
only thing that really matters from a 
technical perspective is how your pic- 
ture looks and how your sound 
sounds. In this case, everything looks 
and sounds sreat. Though the A- 
Minima may not be a perfect camera, 
it certainly provides a better image 
than any non-HD video camera and 
makes it possible to create a 35mm 
print. The Cantar's 24-bit sound sur- 
passes the quality of any DAT or DV 
camera and can be loaded directly into 
24-bit audio workstations. I applaud 
Aaton, and can't wait to see what they 
do next. D 

Greg Gilpatrtck is a Brooklyn based 

filmmaker and consultant. His email 

address is greg@randomroom.com. 

The following companies provided assistance 

with this article: 

Equipment: Aaton & Abel CineTech 

Film Stock: Kodak 

Laboratory Services: Metropolis Filmlab 

Telecine: Mind's Eye Media 



January/ February 2004 | The Independent 59 



II 



Festivals 

By Bo Mehrad 

Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement. We recommend that 
you contact the festival directly 
before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes 
to press. Deadline: 1st of the month 
two months prior to cover date (e.g., 
Feb. 1st for April issue). Include fes- 
tival dates, categories, prizes, entry 
fees, deadlines, formats & contact 
info. Send to: festivals@aivf.org. 



INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL 

LISTINGS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJVIVF.ORG 



ATHENS INT'L FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL 
April 23-29. OH. Deadline: Feb. 20. Annual 
fest celebrating independent, doc & experi- 
mental works. Each entry is pre-screened by 
a committee of artists. Works w/ high regard 
for artistic innovation, sensitivity to content & 
personal involvement w/ the medium are 
welcomed. Cats: feature, doc. short, experi- 
mental. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2". Beta, 
Beta SP, mini-DV Preview on VHS (NTSC). 
16mm. Entry Fee: $35. plus s.a.s.e./insur- 
ance. Contact: Festival. Box 388. Rm. 407. 75 
W Union St, Athens, OH 45701 : (740) 593- 
1330: fax: 597-2560: bradley@ohiou.edu; 
www.athensfest.org. 

BIG MUDDY FILM FESTIVAL. February 20- 
29. IL Deadline: Jan. 23. Cats: feature, doc. 
short, animation, experimental, any style or 
genre. Formats: 16mm, 1/2". DVD. Mini-DV. 
DVCAM. Preview formats same as screen- 
ing formats. Entry Fee: $35 (under 20 min); 



Founded: 1996. Cats: feature (over 60 min.), 
narrative (under 60 min.), doc (under 60 
min.), animation, experimental, student, fea- 
ture, doc, short, any style or genre. Awards: 
Over $5,000 in prizes. Formats: 1 6mm, Beta. 
DV. 35mm, 3/4". 1 /2". S-VHS, Beta SP, super 
8. Hi8, U-matic, 8mm. DigiBeta. Preview on 
VHS (NTSC) & DVD. Entry Fee: $25-$40 
Contact: Firstglance Films, Box 571105, 
Tarzana, CA 91356; (818) 464-3544: (215) 
552-8566;email wroprol @email.msn.com; 
www.firstglancefilms.com. 

GEN ART FILM FESTIVAL. April 14-20. NY. 
Deadline: Dec. 1 2 (early); Jan. 26 (final). Fest 
is curated, non-competitive championing 
American independent film & its audiences. 
Founded: 1996. Cats: animation, feature, 
experimental, short, doc. Formats: 35mm, 
Beta SP. DVD. Preview on VHS, DVD. Entry 
Fee: $15 shorts. $20 (late): $25 features. 
$30 (late)- $5 discount for w/outabox.com 



DOMESTIC 



ANTELOPE VALLEY INDEPENDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL. May 14-16, CA. Deadline: Feb. 1: 
March 1 5 (final). Fest seeks short & feature 
films of all genres & formats for its annual 
fest All films will be screen in their original 
formats. Cats: short doc. feature. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Beta. Entry Fee: $25: 
$40 (Final). Contact: AVIFF, 3041 West 
Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93536; (661) 
722-6478; fax: 772-6612; info@aviff.com; 
www.aviff.com. 

ARIZONA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL. April 15- 
25. AZ. Deadline: Feb. 6. Festival's mission is 
to showcase independent work (preferably 
not in distribution) from around the world to 
Arizona audiences. Formats: 35mm. Beta SP. 
DV. DVD, 16mm. Preview on VHS. DVD. 
Entry Fee: $30 (under 45 mm.): $50 (45 min. 
& over). Contact: Guilio Scalinger, Box 431, 
Tucson. AZ 85702: (520) 628-1737; reel 
frontier@yahoo.com; www.azmac.org. 

ARIZONA STATE ART MUSEUM SHORT 
FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL April 18. AZ. 
Deadline: Feb. 1 3. The fest is a one night out- 
door fest. Entries should be no longer than 
10 min. Cats: short, experimental. Awards: 
Juror's Choice (2). LeBlanc Audience 
Choice. & AZ award (Arizona artists only). 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
John D. Spiak. Curatorial Museum Specialist 
ASU Art Museum, Tenth St & Mill Avenue, 
Tempe. AZ 85287-291 1: (480) 965-2787: 
fax: (480) 965-5254: spiak@asu.edu: 
asuartmuseum.asu.edu/filmfest/. 



The ten-year-old Los Angeles Film Festival 
has become the place for indie films in 
Southern California. Run by IFP/Los Angeles 
since 2001, the fest screens domestic and 
international films, and hosts special events 
and screenings throughout the LA area. 
Heavy press and industry attendance, along with lush opening and closing night 
parties, make for an exceptional program. And then there's the The Target 
Filmmaker Award— sponsored by Target Store— an unrestricted cash prize of 
$50,000, which is the largest cash prize bestowed by a major U.S. film festival. 
Last year Paxton Winters won the jackpot for his film, Crude. See listing. 



$40 (20-50 mm.): $45 (over 50 mm.). 
Contact: Evan Smith, Dept of Cinema & 
Photography, Southern Illinois University, 
Carbondale. IL 62901-6610; (618) 453- 
1482: fax: 453-2264: bigmuddy@siu.edu: 
www.bigmuddy film.com. 

BLACK POINT FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. 
April 21-25, Wl. Deadline: Dec. 31; Jan. 31 
(final). Fest takes place in Lake Geneva. Wl. 
about an hour from Chicago. Madison & 
Milwaukee. Founded: 2002. Cats: any style 
or genre. Formats: 35mm. 1/2". DVD. Beta 
SP. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (Short); 
$30 (Feature); $25 (late-Short): $40 (late- 
Feature). Contact: Richard Paro. 3235 
Chicago Club Drive, Delavan, Wl 53115; 
(262)740-BPFF: nchardparo@yahoo.com: 
www.blackpointfilmfestival.com. 

FIRSTGLANCE: PHILADELPHIA 
INDEPENDENT FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL 
June. PA. Deadline: Jan. 15. Feb. 1 (final). 



members. Contact: 

Festival Director, 1 33 W. 25th Street, 6th Fir.. 

New York, NY 10001 ; (212) 255-7300, ext 

505: fax: (212) 255-7400: film@genart.org; 

www.genart.org. 

HUMBOLDT INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 
April 3-10. CA. Deadline: Jan. 30. Films must 
be under 45 min. in length & completed in 
the last three years. Cats: narrative, experi- 
mental, animation, doc, & the "you call if cat- 
egory, short, any style or genre. Formats: 
16mm, Digital Video. Preview on VHS/DVD. 
Entry Fee: $10 (under 9 mm.); $20 (10-29 
mm.); $30 (30-60 mm); $10 additional for 
Infl entries . Contact: Pablo Koontz, Dept. of 
Theater. Film, & Dance. Humboldt State Univ., 
Areata. CA 95521: (707) 826-4113: fax: 
826-4112: email filmfest@humboldt.edu: 
www.humboldt.edu/--filmfest 

IFP LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL. June 
1 7-26. CA. Deadline: Jan. 1 6: Feb. 20 (final: 



60 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



STANDBY 



shorts, music video); March 1 (final: fea- 
tures). The IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival 
showcases the best of American & int'l 
independent cinema. Playing to huge 
crowds, the test screens over 50 features & 
40 shorts. Fest has evolved into a world 
class event, uniting emerging filmmakers 
w/ critics, scholars, film masters, & the 
movie-loving public. Films must not have 
had theatrical/commercial/TV play in the 
U.S. Features must be at least 60 min. in 
length & not screened at other LA tests. 
Founded: 1995. Cats: Feature, Doc, Short, 
Animation, Music Video, Student. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, DigiBeta, 70mm, Beta SR 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $50/$65 (fea- 
tures); $35/$45 (shorts); $20/$30 (music 
videos). Contact: Richard Raddon, Festival 
Director, c/o IFP West, 8750 Wilshire Blvd. 
2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA, USA 9021 1; 
(866) 345-6338; lafilm fest@ifpwest.org: 
www.lafilmfest.com. 

INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL OF 
BOSTON, April 29-May 2, MA. Deadline: Oct. 
31, Jan. 31, March 1. Fest was created to 
discover unknown filmmakers, incl. students, 
first-timers, & int'l directors. Festival special- 
izes in films still seeking distribution. Cats: 
any style or genre, feature, doc, short, anima- 
tion, experimental. Awards: Best Fiction 
Feature & Short, Best Doc Feature & Short, 
Festival Filmmaker, & Audience Choice. 
Formats: 35mm, Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $10-$45. Contact: Festival, 44 School 
Street, PMB 385, Boston, MA 02108; 
(857)891-8693; email mfo@iffboston.org; 
www.iffboston.org. 

INT'L WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL May 1-8, 
MT. Deadline: Jan. 30. Created & based in 
Missoula Montana, the fest is the world's 
longest running juried wildlife film competi- 
tion & fest. The IWFF strives to build bridges 
for the peolpe who are involved in wildlife, 
filmmaking, & distribution. Cats: see applica- 
tion. Formats: NTSC Beta, NTSC Beta SP, 
NTSC DigiBeta, VHS, PAL, 1/2", Beta, DVD. 
Preview on VHS (NTSC, PAL, SECAM). Entry 
Fee: $25-$200. Contact: IWFF, IWFF, 718 S 
Higgins, Missoula, MT 59801; (406) 728- 
9380; fax: 728-2881; iwff@wildlifefilms.org; 
www.wildlifefilms.org. 

IOWA CITY INT'L DOC FESTIVAL. April 15- 
18, IA. Deadline: Jan. 15: Jan. 31 (final). A 
competitive fest showcasing short documen- 
taries. Length of entries is limited to 30 min.. 
Festival seeks short documentaries of 30 
min or less. The definition of a "doc" is open 
to wide interpretation Founded: 2002. Cats: 
doc, short. Awards: Cash prizes. Formats: 
1/2", 35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry 



Fee: $25; $30 (late). Contact: T Seeberger, 
P.O. Box 10008, Iowa City, IA 52240; 
(319)335-3258; email info@ICDocs.org; 
www.icdocs.org. 

JAMES RIVER FILM FESTIVAL, March 29- 
Apnl 4, VA. Deadline: Feb. 13. The JRFF is 
administered by the Richmond Moving Image 
Co-op, a nonprofit organization that supports 
& promotes independent media arts. The pur- 
pose of the fest is to celebrate and examine 
the history & continuing contributions of 
independently produced film & video. 
Accepting works 30 min. or less produced 
after Jan. 1 of previous year. Founded: 1994. 
Cats: short, any style or genre. Formats: 
Super 8, 16mm, DVD, 1/2", Mini-DV. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Festival, 
P.O. Box 7469, Richmond, VA 23221; (804) 
355-1383; email james@rmicweb.org; 
www.rmicweb.org. 

METHOD FEST INDEPENDENT FILM 
FESTIVAL. April 2-9, CA. Deadline: Dec. 5; 
Jan. 25 (final). Named for the 'Stanislavski 
Method,' fest highlights the great perform- 
ances of independent film. Seeking story 
driven films w/ outstanding acting per- 
formances. Founded: 1999. Cats: 
Feature, Short, Student., Feature, Short, 
Quality Low Budget, & Audience Favorite 
Feature. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta SP, 
DV, DigiBeta, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: Student: $25; Shorts: $30, $40 
(final); Features: $40 , $50 (final). 
Contact: c/o Franken Enterprises, 
880 Apollo St. Ste. 337, El Segundo, 
CA 90245; (310) 535-9230; fax: 
535-9128; Don@methodfest.com; 

www.methodfest.com. 

NEW YORK ASIAN AMERICAN INT'L FILM 

FESTIVAL, July 16-24, NY. Deadline: Feb. 1. 
Founded by the Asian CineVision in 1978, the 
fest is the oldest fest in the U.S. showcasing 
works by film & video makers of Asian decent 
Founded: 1978. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation, experimental, script. Awards: Emerging 
Director Award (1st/2nd time feature direc- 
tors); Screenplay Award. Formats: 35mm, 
1 6mm, Beta SP, 1 /2". Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $10-$35 member/non-member. Contact: 
Asian CineVision, 133 W 19th Street, 3rd Fir., 
New York, NY 1001 1; (212) 989-1422; fax: 
727-3584; email info@asiancinevision.org; 
www.asiancinevision.org. 

NEW YORK INT'L LATINO FILM FESTIVAL, 

July, NY. Deadline: March 5. Festival presents 
the works of Latino artists & people of Latin 
American descent. Founded: 2000. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Student. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Video. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 



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NY 10023; (212) 726-2358: fax: 307-7445; 
info@nylatinofilm.com; www.nylatinofilm.com. 

PALM BEACH INT'L FILM FESTIVAL. April 
15-22. FL Deadline: Dec. 30, Jan. 30 
(final). Festival showcases over 80 
American & Int'l independent features, 
shorts & documentaries. Cats: Open to any 
genre, incl. doc, animation, experimental, 
drama & comedy, etc.. any style or genre, 
feature, doc, short. Formats: 35mm, Beta. 
Beta SP. DigiBeta. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $30-$70. Contact: Festival, 289 
Via Naranjas, Royal Palm Plaza, Ste. 48. 
Boca Raton, FL 33432: (561) 362-0003: 
fax: 362-0035; info@pbifilmfest.org; 
www.pbi filmfest.org. 

PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL. April 8- 
21, PA. Deadline: Jan. 16. Formerly the 
Festival of World Cinema, the annual com- 
petitive fest organized by the Philadelphia 
Film Society offers "an enriching view of 
world culture & a diversity of filmmaking 
culminating in a region-wide celebration of 
cinema." Founded: 1991. Cats: Feature, 
Doc. Short, animation, experimental, any 
style or genre. Formats: 35mm. 16mm, 
Beta, Beta SP. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$20 (shorts): $30 (features). Contact: 
Festival, 234 Market Street, 4th Fir., 
Philadelphia. PA 19106: (215) 733-0608 
ext. 219; fax: (215) 733-0637; tcard 
well@phillyfests.com; www.phillyfests.com. 

REELWORK: MAY DAY LABOR FILM 
FESTIVAL. April 24-May 1. CA. Deadline: 
Feb. 1 . Fest seeks work about labor & union 
issues. Fest pays for travel & lodging for par- 
ticipating filmmakers. Founded: 2002. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, animation, experimental. 
any style or genre. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
1 /2", DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Regan Brashear. 1 30 Sycamore St., 
Santa Cruz. CA 95060; (831) 469-3848; 
submissions@reelwork.org:www.reelwork.org 

ROSEBUD FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. March 
27-28. DC. Deadline: Jan. 25. founded in 
1990 to promote independent film & video 
communities of DC, Maryland & Virginia. 
Founded: 1990. Cats: any style or genre. 
Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm. Beta SP. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 (Entry fee incls. a 
one-yr. membership to Arlington 
Community Television, the sponsoring 
organization). Contact: Jackie Steven, 
Festival Director, 270 1-C Wilson Blvd., 
Arlington, VA 22201 ; (703) 524-2388; fax: 
908-9239: jax@arlingtonmedia.org: 

www.rosebudact.org. 



SAN ANTONIO CINEFESTIVAL, March 3-7, 
TX. Deadline: Jan. 25. The country's longest 
running int'l Chicano/Latino/lndigenous film 
& video fest wll feature four days of film 
screenings, workshops & panels at the his- 
toric Guadalupe Theater & in venues San 
Antonio. Founded: 1978. Cats: short, feature, 
doc. animation, experimental, youth media 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP. 
Preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: $25; 
$15 (students: high school, college & com- 
munity youth training programs). Contact: 
Catherine Herrera, Festival Director, 
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, 1300 
Guadalupe St., San Antonio, TX, USA 78207; 
(210) 271-3151 x32: fax: 271-3480; cine 
festival@guadalupeculturalarts.org; 
www.guadalupeculturalarts.org/mediahtml. 

SAN FRANCISCO INT'L LESBIAN & GAY 
FILM FESTIVAL. June 17-27, CA. Deadline: 
Jan. 5. Feb. 2 (final). Fest one of the oldest & 
most respected, is committed to screening 
the best in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & 
Transgender film. Many works premiered in 
fest go on to be programmed or distributed 
nat'lly & int'lly. Rough cuts accepted for pre- 
view if submitted on 1/2". Fest produced by 
Frameline, nonprofit arts organization dedi- 
cated to gay & lesbian media arts. Founded: 
1976. Cats: any style or genre. Formats: 
35mm, 1/2". Beta 16mm, BETA cam SP- 
NTSC only. VHS- NTSC/PAL Entry Fee: 
$15-25. Contact: Program Coordinator, 146 
9th St., Ste. 300, San Francisco, CA 94103; 
(415) 703-8650; fax: (415) 861-1404; 
info@frameline.org; www.frameline.org. 

SHRIEKFEST FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 11-12. 
CA. Deadline: March 12; May 28; July 23 
(final). The fest focuses on the horror film 
genre & the work of young filmmakers (18 
& under). The fest "screens the best inde- 
pendent horror films of the year." Cats: fea- 
ture, doc (about the horror genre), short, 
script. Young Filmmaker (under 18), youth 
media. Entry Fee: $20-$55. Contact: 
Shriekfest Film Festival. PO Box 920444, 
Sylmar, CA 91392; email@shriekfest.com; 
www.shriekfest.com. 

SILVERDOCS: AFI/DISCOVERY CHANNEL 
DOC FILM FESTIVAL, June 16-20, MD. 
Deadline: Jan. 30: March 5. Cats: doc. Preview 
on VHS. Entry: $25 (short). $30 (feature): $30 
(short, final), $35 (feature final). Contact: 
Festival, 8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring. MD 
20910: (301) 495-6776; fax: 495-6777: 
info@silverdocs.com: www.silverdocs.com. 

TAOS TALKING PICTURE FESTIVAL April 
1 5- 1 8. NM. Deadline: Jan. 1 6. Established as 
an artists' colony more than a century ago, 



62 The Independent | January/February 2004 



Taos is known for its eclectic mixture of cul- 
tures, traditions & philosophies. Cats: feature, 
doc, short, experimental, animation, music 
video, any style or genre, student. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", Beta SP, S-VHS. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25-$50 (no fee 
for int'l entries). Contact: Kelly Clement, Dir. 
of Programming, 1337 Gusdorf Rd. Ste. B, 
Taos, NM 87571 ; (505) 751-0637; fax: 751- 
7385; ttpix@ttpix.org; www.ttpix.org. 

UNA FILM FESTIVAL, April 15-17, AL 
Deadline: Jan. 31. Annual film fest sponsored 
by the University of North Alabama & UNA 
alumnus George Lindsey, who had an illustrious 
career on the Broadway stage in New York & 
Hollywood. Cats: feature, short, Short Doc, 
music video, student doc, animation. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $20; $10 (Student); $5 (Lion 
Club). Contact: Festival, UNA Box 5151, 
Florence , AL 35632; (256) 765-4592; lind- 
seyfilmfest@una.edu; www.lindseyfilmfest.com. 

UNITED STATES SUPER 8MM FILM & 
DIGITAL VIDEO FESTIVAL, February 20-22, 
NJ. Deadline: Jan. 23. Annual fest encour- 
ages any genre, but work must have predom- 
inantly originated on Super 8 film or hi-8 or 
digital video. Formats: Hi8, super 8, 16mm, 
8mm, 1/2", 3/4", DV. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $35 (check or money order payable to 
Rutgers Film Co-op/NJMAC). Contact: 
Albert Nigrin, Rutgers Film Co-op/New 
Jersey Media Arts Center, 72 Lipman Dr., 
018 Loree Bldg-Douglass Campus, Rutgers 
University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 ; (732) 
932-8482; fax: 932-1935; njmac@aol.com; 
www.njfilmfest.com. 

WASHINGTON DC INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, 

Apr. 21 -May 2, DC. Deadline: Jan. 16. 
Annual fest that brings "best in new world 
cinema" to nation's capital. Cats: feature, 
doc, animation, children, short. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$15 (under 30 mm.), $25 (30 mm. & up) . 
Contact: Tony Gittens, Fest Dir., Box 21396, 
Washington, DC 20009; (202) 724-5613; 
fax: 724-6578; filmfestdc@filmfestdc.org; 
www.filmfestdc.org. 

INTERNATIONAL 

ALGARVE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 1-9, 
Portugal. Deadline: Feb.15. Comp. works under 
30min. Founded: 1972. Cats: doc, animation, 
fiction, short. Awards: totaling $20,000. 
Formats: 35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: Carlos Manuel, Gen. Dir., Box 
8091, Lisbon Codex, Portugal 1800; 011 351 
21 851 36 15; fax: 351 21 852 1 1 50; email 
algarvefilmfest@mail.telepac.pt; www.algarve 
filmfest.com. 



FESTIVAL INT'L DU DOCUMENTAIRE 
(MARSEILLE), July 2-7, France. Deadline: 
March 1 5. Festival is open to every form, past 
& present, of doc film. Cats: Doc. Awards: 
Grand Prix (Feature length) 30,000 FF, Prix 
de la competition frangaise 1 5,000 FF, Prix 
de la Critique (First film) 10,000 FF, Prix 
Planete, Prix Georges de Beauregard, & the 
Prix des Cinemas de Recherche. Formats: 
1 6mm, 35mm, Beta SP. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: Michel Tregan, 
President, 14 Allee Leon Gambetta, 
Marseille, 1 3001 ; 01 1 33 (0)4 9504 44 90; 
fax: 9504 44 91 ; welcome@fidmarseille.org; 
www.fidmarseille.org. 

INSIDE OUT: TORONTO LESBIAN AND 
GAY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, May 20-30, 
Canada. Deadline: Jan. 15. Founded: 1991. 
Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, experi- 
mental, music video, student, youth media, 
family, children, TV. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
Beta. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Kathleen Mullen, 401 Richmond St. 
West, Ste. 219, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
M5V 3A8; (416) 977-6847; fax: 977-8025; 
inside@insideout.on.ca; www.insideout.on.ca. 

INT'L FESTIVAL OF FINE ARTS, Sept. 22- 
26, Hungary. Deadline: March 31. Fest 
presents film & video works of various gen- 
res, which are somehow related to science: 
they deal w/ scientific work & achieve- 
ments, or science plays an important part in 
their plot, language or manner of interpre- 
tation. Cats: doc, short, experimental, 
animation. Preview on VHS PAL. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: Istvan Demeter, 
Managing Director, Tisza Mozi, Ltd., 
Templom u. 4., Szolnok, Hungary 5000; 
011 36 56 51 1 270; fax: 36-56-420-038; 
festival@tiszamozi.hu; www.tiszamozi.hu. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL OF URUGUAY, Apr. 3- 
18, Uruguay. Deadline: Jan. 15. Annual fest 
devoted to short & feature length, doc, fiction, 
experimental, Latin American & int'l films, w/ 
purpose of promoting film quality & human & 
conceptual values. Ind. fest aims at being 
frame for meetings & discussions of regional 
projects & of mutual interest. Founded: 1982. 
Cats: feature, doc, short, experimental, anima- 
tion, student. Awards: Best Film; Jury Prize; 
Opera Prima Prize. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, S- 
VHS, U-matic, Beta SP, DVD, DV. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Manuel 
Martinez Carril, Lorenzo Carnelli 1311, 
Montevideo, Uruguay 1 1 200; 1 1 5982 4 1 8 
2460; 409 5795; fax: 5982 419 4572; cine 
muy@chasque.net; www.cinemateca.org.uy. 

INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL HAMBURG, 

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January/February 2004 | The Independent 63 



& no budget); April 1 (3 minute "Quickie"). 
Annual Festival is a forum for presenting diver- 
sity of int'l short films & providing a meeting 
place for filmmakers from home & abroad. 
Founded: 1 985. Cats: short, children, any style 
or genre. Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, super 8, S- 
VHS, Beta SP, DVD, 1/2". Preview on VHS. If 
previews are not in German or English, please 
enclose text list Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Festival, KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V., 
Friedensallee 7 Hamburg, Germany D-22765 ; 
01 1 49 40 39 10 6323; fax: 39 10 6320; 
fes tival@shortfilm.com; www.shortfilm.com. 

MONTREAL JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL, May 
6- 1 3, Canada. Deadline: February 1 5. Annual 
test showcases Jewish films from around the 
world. Founded: 1995. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, animation, experimental, children. 
Formats: 1/2", 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP, 
VHS (Beta SP). Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
None. Contact: Susan Alper, Din, 1 564 Saint- 
Denis St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2X 
3K2; (514) 987-9795; fax: 987-9736; festi 
val@mjff.qc.ca; www.mjff.qc.ca. 

NETHERLANDS TRANSGENDER FILM 
FESTIVAL, May 21-25, Netherlands. 



Deadline: March 1. Cats: feature, doc, short, 
experimental. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Kam 
Wai Kui, c/o Stichting T-lmage, PO Box 
15650, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1001 
ND; 01 1 31 20 636 3727; fax: 31 20 636 
3730; info@transgenderfilmfestival.com; 
www.transgenderfilmfestival.com. 

OBERHAUSEN INT'L SHORT FILM 
FESTIVAL. April 29-May 4, Germany. Deadline: 
Jan. 1 5. The woldest short film fest offers a 
forum for aesthetic & technological innovation 
& reflection. Founded: 1 954. Cats: Short, Any 
style or genre, Children, Music Video. Awards: 
incl. Grand Prize, Jury of Int'l Film Critics award. 
Works will compete for prizes worth a total of 
32,500 EURO (approx. $30,000). Formats: 
35mm, 1 6mm, Beta SP/PAL, , Super 8. DV, 5- 
VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Melanie Piguel, Coordinator, Grillostr. 
34. Oberhausen, Germany 46045; 01 1 49 
208 825 2652; fax: 49 208 825 5413; 
mfo@kurz filmtage.de; www.kurzfilmtage.de. 

SINGAPORE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, April 
15-May 1, Singapore. Deadline: Jan. 15. 
Invitational fest offers non-competitive & 
competitive section for Asian cinemat. Cats: 



Short, Feature, Doc, Animation. Formats: 
35mm, 1 6mm, 1 /2", Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Philip Cheah, 
Festival Director, 45A Keong Saik Rd„ 
Singapore, Singapore 089149; 01 1 65 738 
7567; fax: 01 1 65 738 7578; 
filmfest@pacific.net.sg; www.filmfest.org.sg. 

VIDEOEX INT'L EXPERIMENTAL FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL, May 16-25, Switzerland. 
Deadline: Jan. 30 Cats: experimental. Entry 
Fee: None. Contact: Festival, Kanonengasse 
20, Zurich, Switzerland 8004: 011 41 43 
322 0813; fax: 322 0815; info@videoex.ch; 
www.videoex.ch. 



SEE THESE LISTINGS 

AND MORE AT 

WWW.AIVF.ORG. 



CALL 






ENTRIES 

CELEBRATING BREAKOUT ACTING 
PERFORMANCES IN INDIE FILMS 

April 2-9, 2004 



Dis 



very 



I* 



Independent 
Film Festival 



^pmmjv ww. methodfest.com 
Late Entry Deadline (310)535-9230 

January 23, 200* «•• don@methodfest.com 



vwmii 



DOWNTOWN 

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64 The Independent | January/February 2004 




association of independent] 
video and filmmakers 



THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT 
VIDEO AND FILMMAKERS 



TO SUCCEED AS AN INDEPENDENT 
you need a wealth of resources, 
strong connections, and the best 
information available. Whether 
through our service and education 
programs, the pages of our magazine, 
our web resource, or through the 
organization raising its collective 
voice to advocate for important issues, 
AIVF preserves your independence 
while reminding you you're not alone. 

About AIVF 

The oldest and largest national 
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The Association of Independent Video 
and Filmmakers (AIVF) provides 
support for individuals and advocacy 
for the media arts field. A 501(c)(3) 
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resource programs for members and 
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Films/Tapes 
Wanted 

By Jessica McDowell 

Noncommercial notices and screening 
opportunities are listed free of charge 
as space permits. Commercial notices 
are billed at classified rates. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length and makes no guarantees 
about duration of listing. Limit submis- 
sions to 60 words and indicate how 
long your information will be current. 
Listings must be submitted to 
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month two months prior to cover date 
(e.g., March 1 for May issue). Listings 
do not constitute an endorsement by 
The Independent or AIVF. We try to be 
as current and accurate as possible, 
but nevertheless: double-check details 
before sending. 



DISTRIBUTION 

AQUARIUS HEALTH CARE VIDEOS, the 

leader of documentary films that focus 
on health & powerful life challenging sit- 
uations is seeking additional programs to 
add to our award winning collection. Our 
strong, targeted marketing program & 
film festivals will help increase aware- 
ness for you. We look forward to pre- 
viewing your film. Please send your film 
to Aquarius Health Care Videos, 18 
North Mam Street, Sherborn, MA 01770. 
(888) 440-2963. 

ARTHOUSE FILMS & DOCS WANTED for 

domestic & international distribution. For 
consideration, please send tape to: 
Passion River, GreeneStreet Film Center, 
9 Desbrosses St, 2nd Fl, New York, NY 
10013. Call 212-966-5877, or email 
www.PassionRiver.com. 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS 
VIDEOS on guidance issues such as vio- 
lence, drug prevention, mentoring, chil- 
dren's health & parenting for exclusive 
distribution. Our marketing gives 
unequaled results! Call Sally Germain at 
The Bureau for At-Risk Youth: (800) 99- 
Y0UTH x. 210. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as 
an industry leader! Join more than 100 
award-winning producers. Send us your 
new works on healthcare, mental health, 
aging, disabilities, and related issues. 
(800) 937-41 13; www.fanlight.com. 



INDIE-UNDERGROUND SEEKS OFF- 
BEAT, EDGY FEATURES and doc features 
for foreign/domestic distribution. Gross 
percent on internet sales. Established track 
record, fast response. Visit www.lndieUnder 
ground.com Submissions page, send us 
your show. 

NEW DAY FILMS seeks energetic inde- 
pendent film and videomakers with social 
issue docs for distribution to non-theatri- 
cal markets. If you want to maximize your 
profits while working within a remarkable 
community of committed activist film- 
makers, then New Day is the perfect 
home for your film. New Day is commit- 
ted to promoting diversity within our 
membership and within the media we 
represent. Explore our films at www.new- 
day.com, then contact Heidi Emberling at 
(650) 347-5123. 

SUBMIT YOUR FLICK TO: The William 
Bonney Picture Show. A Festival That 
Shares the $!!! * Detailed Feedback on 
Every Submission * Low Entry Fees * Run 
by Filmmakers * A Roaming Festival of 
Kicke Asse Movies www.williambonney.org. 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading 
film/video/multimedia distributor, seeks 
new doc, fiction, educational & animation 



NoodleHead Network distributes videos made 
with kids. Educational videos in all subjects. 
Check out our distributor FAQ at 
www.aivf.org/independent and get your stu- 
dents' voices heard. (800) 639-5680. 

MICROCINEMAS • 
SCREENINGS 

CELLULOID SOCIAL CLUB is a monthly 
screening series in Vancouver featuring the 
best in independent provocative short & fea- 
ture films & videos followed by fun & frolic. 
Hosted by Ken Hegan at the ANZA Club, #3 
West 8th Ave., Vancouver, BC. No minors. 
Prizes galore. For more info call (604) 730- 
8090; or email info@alterentertainment.com; 
www.CelluloidSocialClub.com. 

CLUB DIY is a new monthly screening series 
in Hollywood, CA, showcasing the best work 
from the DIY Film Festival at the Derby night- 
club. Each screening will also feature discus- 
sion panels and cocktail party. For more info, 
(323) 665-8080; DIYConvention@aol.com; 
www.DIYReporter.com. 

DAHLIA'S FLIX & MIX, a weekly showcase of 
new film & music held on Tuesdays at NY's 
Sugar, is seeking submissions. Showcases 
fresh and previously undistributed film & 
video work, as well as DJs spinning great 
music. No guest list, cover charge, or submis- 



VIEWNAPPY 

Dante Gonzalez's refreshingly fun film festival, Viewnappy, is a monthly contest 
for homemade music videos, which takes place in New York— where parties are 
held in a 2000sq.ft loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with screenings on the roof in 
the summer months, San Francisco, Austin, and London. The rules are simple; 
the videos must be music-based and under fifteen minutes. Works are not 
judged solely on technical merit, and Gonzalez encourages experimentation 
"with recycled footage, original works, animations, video games, motion graph- 
ics, scored with music (non-commercial preferred)." Finalists are entered in 
quarterly video slams where audiences choose the winner— who receives free 
post-production for his/her next project, among other prizes. See listing. 



programs for distribution. Send videocas- 
settes or discs for evaluation to: The 
Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Ave., 2nd fl., 
New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-6242; 
gcrowdus@cinemguild.com; Ask for our 
Distribution Services brochure. 

YOUTH-PRODUCED VIDEO. Guaranteed 
exposure to tens of thousands, plus roy- 
alties to sustain your program. Only 



sion fee. For more info, contact dsmith@inde- 
pendentfilm.com or stop by Sugar any 
Tuesday evening (doors open 7pm, screen- 
ings begin 8pm). To submit your film, please 
send a VHS or DVD copy and a brief synop- 
sis to: Dahlia Smith, c/o SUGAR, 31 1 Church 
St., New York, NY 10013, 

EMERGING FILMMAKERS series at the 
Little Theatre in Rochester, NY, seeks work 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 65 



films/tapes wanted 




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from New York State amateur filmmakers of 
all ages. Deadline: ongoing. Send VHS 
screener & cover letter to Karen vanMeenen, 
programmer, Emerging Filmmakers Series, 
Little Theatre, 240 East Ave., Rochester, NY 
1 4604; ren@eznet.net. 

FLICKER encompasses a Super 8 & 16mm 
showcase held in Ashville, Athens, Chapel 
Hill, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, 
Richmond & Bordeaux, France. Film grants of 
$ 1 00 to filmmakers are also offered through 
some groups. Send a short proposal to the 
Flicker nearest you. See the website for a list 
of local Flickers: www.flickeraustin.com. 

GIRLS ON FILM is a quarterly screening 
series in San Fran that seeks short narrative, 
doc & experimental works of 30 min. or fewer 
by women of color. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
VHS, or Beta; preview on VHS (NTSC) or 
DVD. No entry fee. Send preview (with name, 
title, length, phone & e-mail) to: Jennifer 
Jajeh, Girls On Film, 1566 Grove Street #1, 
San Francisco, CA 941 17. Include S.A.S.E. if 
you'd like your work returned. For more 
info, e-mail girlsonfilmseries@hotmail.com; 
www.atasite.org. 

MAKOR continues its Reel Jews Film Festival 
& ongoing screening series showcasing the 
work of emerging Jewish filmmakers. Now 
accepting shorts, features, docs, and/or 
works in progress, regardless of theme, for 
screening consideration. Program sponsored 
by Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons 
Foundation. Contact Ken Sherman: (212) 
413-8821; ksherman@92ndsty.org. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPO- 
SURE, a monthly microcinema screening 
program of int'l short films, videos & digital 
works, seeking short video, film & digital 
media submissions of 15 min. or fewer on 
an ongoing basis for the monthly screen- 
ing program. Artists qualify for a nonexclu- 
sive distribution deal, incl. additional 
license fees for int'l offline & online sales. 
Looking for short narrative, alternative, 
humorous, dramatic, erotic, animation, etc. 
Submit VHS or S-VHS (NTSC preferred) 
labeled w/ name, title, length, phone # & 
any support materials, incl. photos. 
Submissions will not be returned. 
Contact: Joel S. Banchar, Microcinema 
International, 531 Utah St., San Francisco, 
CA 94110; email info@microcinema.com; 
www.microcinema.com. 

NEW FILMMAKERS LOS ANGELES seeks 
submissions for its weekly screening series. 
Films can be any length/year of production. 
Films without distribution only. No entry fee. 



Keep press kit to a min. synopsis, dir's bio, 1 
production photo. Submissions on DVD; VHS 
(NTSC) & Mini DV also accepted. Send sub- 
missions to New Filmmakers, P.O. Box 
48469, LA, CA 90048. For more info, new- 
filmmakersla@yahoo.com; www.newfilmmak- 
ers.com/LA%20call_for_entries.htm. 

ROOFTOP FILMS seeks submissions for its 
7th season of films screened on a Brooklyn 
rooftop. Series runs every Friday night from 
June 13 to Sep. 12. Seeks work in any 
genre; especially seeks work by women or 
people of color. Submissions accepted on an 
ongoing basis. Curators encouraged to send 
entire programs. For more info, visit 
www.rooftopfilms.com, or email Dan Nuxtoll, 
dan@rooftopfilms.com. 

SHORT FILM GROUP seeks shorts (under 
45 min.) throughout the year for its quarterly 
series of screenings in Los Angeles. The 
group is a nonprofit organization created to 
promote short film as a means to itself. For 
more information & an application form, visit 
www.shortfilmgroup.org. 

THE CHARLESTON COUNTY PUBLIC 
LIBRARY is seeking original fiction/non-fic- 
tion films in 1 6mm, VHS, or DVD formats for 
potential screenings throughout 2004 (espe- 
cially during Spoleto-related events). To sub- 
mit material, please sent a non-returnable 
preview copy (VHSS/DVD) of the film and a 
cover letter to Kevin Crothers, Audio-Visual 
Head, Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. 
Charleston, SC 29401. Email crothersk® 
ccpl.org for more information. 

TINY PICTURE CLUB seeks Super 8 films 
for quarterly, theme-based programs. Films 
will screen on Super 8 & be accompanied 
by live music. Tiny Picture Club is especial- 
ly interested in work from the Portland area. 
Send VHS tape to: Tiny Picture Club, 
6202 SE 17th Ave., PTX, OR 97202; 
www.tinypictureclub.org. 

VIEWNAPPY'S HOMEMADE MUSIC 
VIDEO FESTIVAL: Monthly screening par- 
ties, & finalists to be entered in quarterly 
video slams. Music based submissions, 15 
min. or under. No deadline, no fee. 
Acceptable formats: VHS/DVD (preferred), 
Beta sp/digi, MiniDv, Hi-8; email formats: 
Quicktime, Mpeg, Flash, SWA. Include a 
short artist bio & label tapes with your 
name, title, and contact info. Send to: 
Viewnappy, c/o Final Cut, 1 18 W. 22nd St. 
7th floor, New York, NY 1001 1. For more 
info, visit www.viewnappy.org. 



66 The Independent | January/February 2004 



GALLERIES ■ EXHIBmONS 

OPEN CALL FOR VIDEO SHORTS to be part 
of an Art Exhibition called "Unsensored 
Gifts" at Mt. San Jacinto College's Fine Art 
Gallery, in San Jacinto, CA. We are looking for 
imaginative shorts on any subject, limited to 
10 minutes in length. These works will be 
screened each day of the exhibition period 
which will run from mid-October to mid- 
November, 2004. No entry fee. Deadline for 
submissions: Feb. 1st, 2004. Please send 
VHS screeners/ NTSC, to MSJC/ Fine Art 
Gallery, Lucinda Luvaas, Director, 1499 N. 
State St., San Jacinto, CA 92583, making 
sure all contact information and bio materials 
are included with SASE for return of tape. 
Send questions to: lluvas@msjc.edu. 

SHOWCASES 

FREIGHT FILM SALON seeks submissions 
for its Monday Night Shorts showcase series. 
Work can be any genre, 20 min. or fewer; 
must be on VHS or DVD. Will screen on 6' 
screen, 2 plasma screens & 4 monitors. E- 
mail FreightFilmSalon@yahoo.com for addi- 
tional info, or visit www.FreightNYC.com. 

WORKSCREENING/WORKS PRODUC- 
TIONS is accepting submissions of both 
feature & short documentaries & fiction 
films for programming of its upcoming 
inaugural season of weekly showcases of 
independent work streamed online as well 
as on our microcinema screen in New York 
City. Looking for alternative, dramatic, ani- 
mation, etc. Submit VHS/S-VHS (NTSC 
please) labeled with name, title, length, 
phone number, e-mail, address & support 
materials, including screening list & festival 
history. Tapes & material will be returned 
only if you are not selected for showcase & 
you include an S.A.S.E. Contact Julian 
Rad, Works Productions/WorkScreening, 
1586 York Ave, #1, NY, NY 10028; 
WORKSinfo@aol.com. 



TOURING PROGRAMS 

THE HIP HOP FILM FEST TOUR is an ongo- 
ing event hitting major cities & cultural cen- 
ters on a global level. Organizers are indie 
filmmakers looking to share their visual doc- 
uments of the vibrant Hip-Hop culture and 
connect with other mediamakers. Deadline: 
Ongoing. Visit www.hiphopfilmfest.com for 
info, email lnfo@HipHopFilmFest.com, or call 
(866)206-9071 x9211. 



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NEW DAY FILMS is the premiere distribution 
cooperative for social issue media. Owned 
and run by its members, New Day Films 
has successfully distributed documentary 
film and video for thirty years. New Day 
has a strong commitment to promoting 
diversity within our membership and within 
the content of the media we represent. 

Call Heidi Emberling 650.347.5123 



www.newday.com 



Seeking energetic 
independent makers 
of social issue 
documentaries for 
■ "w membership. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 67 



films/tapes wanted 



BROADCASTS 
CABLECASTS 



BROOKDALE TELEVISION is a progressive 
educational access channel in Momoufh 
County, NJ reaching over 79,000 households 
at the Jersey Shore. We are currently seek- 
ing independent works for consideration for 
cablecast All lengths & genres considered. 
Nonexclusive rights release upon accept- 
ance, no payment but promotional & contact 
info will be provided on air and through our 
office. VHS for preview, Beta SR MiniDV, 
SVHS and DVD accepted for Cablecast. 
Contact Roger Conant; BTV Brookdale 
Community College, 765 Newman Springs 
Road. Atec Rm.112, Lincroft NJ. 07738; 
(732) 224-2467: rconant@brookdalecc.edu. 

DUTV is a progressive, nonprofit access 
channel in Philadelphia that seeks works by 
indie producers. All genres & lengths consid- 
ered. Will return tapes. Beta SR DV, S-VHS & 
DVD accepted for possible cablecast VHS 
for preview. Contact: Debbie Rudman, DUTV, 
3141 Chestnut St, Bldg. 9B, Rm. 4026, 
Philadelphia, PA 19104: (215) 895-2927: 
dutv@drexel.edu; www.dutv.org. 



VI DEO/ FILM SHORTS wanted for cutting- 
edge television station from Nantucket 
Island, Mass. Must be suitable for TV broad- 
cast. Directors interviewed, tape returned w/ 
audience feedback. Accepting VHS/S-VHS, 
15 mm. max. S.A.S.E. to Box 1042, 
Nantucket. MA 02554; (508) 325-7935. 

WEBCASTS 

ATOM FILMS seeks quality films & anima- 
tions for worldwide commercial distribution to 
our network of television, airline, home enter- 
tainment & new media outlets, including the 
award-winning AtomFilms website. 
Submissions must be 30 min. or fewer. For 
more info & a submission form, visit 
www.atomshockwave.com. 

TURBU LANCE is a project of New Radio and 
Performing Arts, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c) 
(3) org. that commissions net art works by 
emerging and established artists. Rolling 
deadline. Proposals can be in the form of text 
in the body of the email, or an attached RTF 
file. Email proposals to: newradio@si.rr.com. 
For more info., visit www.somewhere.org. 



WIGGED.NET is a digital magazine that is a 
showcase, distributor & promotion center for 
media artists via the web. Seeks works creat- 
ed in Flash and Director as well as tradition- 
al animations & videos fewer than 10 min. in 
length to be streamed over the internet. For 
details, visit the "submit media" page at 
www.wigged.net. Deadline: ongoing 



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RECENT PROJECTS INCLUDE: 

Bill Plympton 
Hair High 

A Dean Bell 
What Alice Found 

Cynthia Wade 
Shelter Dogs 

Sandi Simcha Dubowski 
Trembling Before G-d 

Tareque Masud 
The Clay Bird 



MERCERMEDIA.COM 



68 The Independent | January/February 2004 



Notices 

By Jessica McDowell 

Noncommercial notices are listed 
free of charge as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length and makes no guaran- 
tees about duration of listing. Limit 
submissions to 60 words and indi- 
cate how long your information will 
be current. Listings must be submit- 
ted to notices@aivf.org by the first of 
the month two months prior to cover 
date (e.g., March 1 for May issue). 
Remember to give us complete con- 
tact info (name, address, and phone 
number). Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement by The Independent 
or AIVF. We try to be as current and 
accurate as possible, but neverthe- 
less: double-check details before 
sending anyone anything. 



COMPETITIONS 

ACTION/CUT SHORT FILM COMPETITION: 

This competition showcases new work from 
across the world, with multiple awards & 
career services, and access Hollywood. Cats: 
fiction, doc, animation; prizes: $25,000 in 
cash, career services, and sponsor awards, 
including career meetings with industry play- 
ers and exposure at festials, distribution deal 
offers, and promotions throughout the biz 
and the web. Deadline: May 15, 2004. 
www.actioncut.com or (800) 815-5545. 

AMERICAN ACCOLADES SCREENWRIT- 
ING COMPETITION: A competition which 
offers feedback, designed to provide an out- 
let for emerging talent in a relatively impene- 
trable industry. Finalist judges include agents, 
managers, & other industry executives. Cats: 
Drama, SciFi/Action/Adventure, Comedy/ 
Romantic Comedy, Thriller/ Horror and Other. 
Over $5000 in prizes. Grand Prize winner 
takes home $2,500. Late deadline Jan. 30 
w/ fee of $60. Contact: Accolades TV & 
Shorts, 21 18 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 160B, Santa 
Monica, CA 90403; info@American 
Accolades.com. 

DIGIT, a digital media exposition sponsored 
by Delaware Valley Arts Alliance, the arts 
council for Sullivan County, NY, is calling for 
entries for Media works in four categories: 
Animation, Narrative, Documentary and 
Experimental/Hybrid/Alternative. DiGit was 
conceived to encourage creative and techni- 
cal excellence and experimentation among 
individual artists and small groups working 
with digital tools. Over $3,000 in prizes will 



awarded. Application forms online at 
www.ArtsAllianceSite.org or by calling 845- 
252-7576. Deadline is February 29, 2004. 

MONTEREY COUNTY FILM COMMISSION 
2004 SCREENWRITING COMPETITION is 

accepting submissions. Prizes: "Artistic Talent 
Award" of a $1000 grant to the Maine 
Photographic Screenwriters Workshop and a 
$1,000 "On Location Award" will be given in 
recognition of an outstanding screenplay that 
includes at least 75% Monterey County set- 
tings. Deadline: March 1, 2004 with $35 
entry fee; April 1, 2004 with $45 fee. 
Screenplays must not have been optioned or 
sold at the time of submission. Full length 
film or TV (90-1 30 pgs). Entry fee: $35/$45. 
Discounts for submission of 2 or more 
scripts. Contact: (831) 646-0910; filmmon 
terey@redshift.com; www.filmmonterey.org. 

ONE IN TEN SCREENPLAY COMPETITION 

promotes the positive portrayal of gays & les- 
bians in film. The competition is open to all 
writers and offers cash awards & industry 
contacts to winners. Deadline: Sept. 1, 2004. 
Complete rules & entry forms available at 
website or by sending S.A.S.E. to Cherub 
Productions, One In Ten Screenplay 



Total cash and prizes are valued at over 
$10,000. Deadline: June 1, 2004. 
Contact: Tatiana Swancy or Patrick 
Moran, RIFF, PO Box 162, Newport, Rl 
02840; (401) 861-4445; fax: 847-7590; 
flicksart@aol.com; www.film-festival.org. 

SCR(I)PT MAGAZINE'S OPEN DOOR 
SCREENWRITING CONTEST: This competi- 
tion aims to discover, promote & recognize a tal- 
ented new screenwriter by awarding them cash 
and an "open door" to the industry. Top 3 final- 
ists are forwarded to a production company 
which will choose the winner and may contact 
any of the finalists to work in the future. Entry 
fee: $45. Deadline: March 1, 2004. Contact: 
Open Door Contests, Scr(i)pt Magazine, 5638 
Sweet Air Rd, Baldwin, MD 21 01 3; (888) 245- 
2228; fax: (410) 592-3466; contests@script 
mag.com; www.scriptmag.com. 

SCRIPTAPALOOZA 6TH ANNUAL 

SCREENWRITING COMPETITION: First 
prize is $10,000, and the top 30 winners 
receive screenwriting software from Write 
Brothers. Top thirteen winners will be consid- 
ered by Scriptapalooza's outstanding partici- 
pants: A Band Apart, Samuel Goldwyn Films, 
HBO, Material, Disney, and many more. 




According to Noel Lawrence, OtherZine functions 
as the "house organ" of Other Cinema, the long- 
running program of nearly twenty years that 
showcases experimental and unusual film in San 
Francisco. Five years ago, Lawrence joined forces 
with Craig Baldwin, culture-jammer and filmmak- 
er (whose 1 995 film Sonic Outlaws is pictured) to 
become the webmaster, and eventually the curator, for OtherZine. The goal of 
OtherZine is to provide a forum for discussion and criticism of film, video, and 
other media that often "falls between the cracks, be they underground, experi- 
mental, or just plain obscure." Since the zine is only available online and the staff 
is all-volunteer, there is no overhead and no profit "We're just trying to get infor- 
mation about films we like out to the public," says Lawrence. See listing. 



Competition, Box 540, Boulder, CO 80306; 
(303) 629-3072; cherubfilm@aol.com; 
www.screenplaycontests.com. 

RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL SCREENPLAY COMPETITION 
2004: Created to recognize creativity, 
innovation & art of storytelling. Scripts 
must not have been sold or optioned prior 
to entry. Entry fee: $35. The Grand Prize 
winner will have segments of the work 
produced during Take 1-2-3: Filmmaking 
With the Pros, RIIFF's annual Master 
Class on Production which features the 
participation of a noted industry director. 



Sponsored by Fimmaker Magazine. All 
entries must be postmarked no later than 
April 15, 2004. For further information or an 
application please visit www.scriptapa 
looza.com or call (323) 654-5809. 

VIDEO CONTEST FOR COLLEGE STU- 
DENTS, sponsored by the Christophers, is now 
in its 1 7th year & seeks films & videos relating 
to the theme "One Person Can Make a 
Difference." Entries must be 5 min. or less & 
submitted on VHS (NTSC). Deadline: July 11, 
2004. Cash prizes totaling $6,500. Wnning 
entries will be aired nationwide via the 
Christopher Closeup TV series. Contact: 12 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 69 




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fax: 838-5073; youth@christophers.org; 
www.christophers.org/contests.html. 

VIDEOGRAPHER AWARDS: Deadline: 
March 26. 2004. Awards program, funded by 
video professionals, honors excellence in 
commercials, corporate videos. & television 
productions. Founded in 1995; over 200 cat- 
egories highlighted such as internal & exter- 
nal communications, government medical, 
religious, music videos, broadcast news, 
cable television. Feature docs, shorts, anima- 
tion, experimental, script, youth media, stu- 
dent, family, children, any genre. Certificates 
awarded. Formats 3/4". 1/2". S-VHS. Beta 
SP, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $40. 
Contact: Festival. 2214 Michigan St, Suite E. 
Arlington, TX 76013: (817) 459-401 1: fax: 
795-4949: ed@communicator-awards.com; 
www.communicator-awards.com. 

CONFERENCES* 
WORKSHOPS 

DI2004 CONFERENCE, January 30- 
February 1, 2004 at the San Francisco 
Marriott Hotel. This conference will bring 
together indie innovators in film, TV, music 
games, policy and the arts to tackle the 
impact of digital production and distribution 
on independent content makers. Open to the 
public, registration required and press passes 
are available upon request; for a full descrip- 
tion of sessions, panelists and moderators, 
visit www.digitalindies.com. 

GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT & MEDIA 
SUMMIT 2004: New York City: April 3-4; 
Los Angeles: June 12-13. A lively and 
engaging forum of people with vision 
from the independent and mainstream 
music, film, video and multimedia worlds 
of the entertainment, media, and commu- 
nications industries. People connect with 
people, exchanging ideas and creating 
projects in a context of innovation, rein- 
vention, and possibility. Together, this 
community is proactively effecting new 
ways to achieve sustainable careers and 
the direction of the revolution now taking 
place in marketing and distribution. For 
more information visit www.globalent.er 
tainmentnetwork.com. 

THIRD WORLD NEWSREEL FILM & PRODUC- 
TION WORKSHOP begins its 27th year as a 
unique "hands-on" program which trains people 
who have limited resources & access to main- 
stream educational institutions & standard train- 
ing programs, with an emphasis on people of 
color and traditionally marginalized groups. This 
intensive 6-month, 8-participant program focus- 



es on preproduction, production & post skills 
necessary to take a project to completion in 
both 1 6mm film and DVCam. Prior film, video, or 
related experience recommended but not 
required. Application required & 2nd round of 
applicants selected for interviews. Cost: $550. 
Deadline: Jan. 30th, 2004 Workshop begins 
early April 2004. For application visit 
www.twn.org or send a SAS.E to: Third World 
Newsreel, Production Workshop. 545 8th Ave, 
10th ft, New York, NY 10018. For more info, 
call (21 2) 947-9277x301. 

RESOURCES * FUNDS 

2004 IFP/CHICAGO PRODUCTION FUND 
offers an in-kind donation of production 
equipment & services valued at up to 
$85,000 for your next short film. 
Applicants must be IFP/Chicago members 
& the film must be shot in the Midwest 
region, defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, 
Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, 
Nebraska, Ohio & Wisconsin. Deadline for 
proposals: Sept. 19, 2003. For an applica- 
tion, call (312) 435-1825, fax (312) 435- 
1828, or e-mail infoifpmw@aol.com. The 
application is available online at 
www.ifp.org. This is a production fund not a 
completion grant. 

THE ANTHONY RADZIWILL DOC. FUND, 

administered by IFP/New York, is a new fund 
providing seed/development grants for inde- 
pendently produced documentary projects by 
U.S. resident filmmakers. Six to ten grants up 
to $10,000 will be given annually, with the 
initial cycle's grants to be awarded in June 
2004. Deadline: March 1, 2004. On-line 
applications, submission requirements, and 
complete guedelines for proposals are avail- 
able at www.ifp.org/docfund. 

ARTS LINK: provides support to U.S. arts pro- 
fessionals & nonprofit arts organizations to 
work w/ their counterparts in 27 countries in 
Central & Eastern Europe, Russia and 
Eurasia Projects should be designed to ben- 
efit participants or audiences in both coun- 
tries. Applications must be postmarked by 
Jan 15. Contact: ArtsLink, CEC International 
Partners, 1 2 West 31 Street, NY, NY 1 0001 , 
(212) 643-1985 x.22, artslink@cecip.org, 
www.cecip.org. 

THE ASIAN CULTURAL COUNCIL has pro- 
vided, over the past 40 years, grant assis- 
tance to more than 3,700 Asians & 
Americans in the arts. For information on fel- 
lowships, visit www.asianculturalcouncil.org. 

BLACK DOCUMENTARY COLLECTIVE 
(BDC) provides people of African descent 



70 The Independent | January/ February 2004 



working in the documentary film & video field 
with the opportunity to network professional- 
ly, promote each others' work, exchange 
ideas in order to generate productions & 
advocate on issues impacting black docu- 
mentary makers. They hold works-in- 
progress screenings, project seminars, par- 
ticipate in the IFP Film Market & have special 
sessions with funders for independent pro- 
ducers. For more information, email 
BlkDocCol@aol.com. 

THE ROY W. DEAN NEW YORK AND LA FILM 
GRANTS: Film and video grants are each 
$50,000 in goods and services. Our only crite- 
ria is that your documentary or short film be 
"unique and make a difference to society!' See 
www.fromtheheartproductions.com for applica- 
tion and guidelines. Deadlines: NYC grant clos- 
es April 30, 2004; LA closes June 30, 2004. 

DIY REVOLUTION is now accepting free list- 
ings/classifieds on an indy media network. 
DIYR is a resource aimed to unite independ- 
ent filmmakers, artists, activists, musicians, 
media groups & writers working for a more 
just, authentic & progressive world working 
outside of a corporate paradigm. Visit us at 
www.diyrevolution.com or www.diyr.com for 
your free membership. 

EMEDIALOFT.ORG CREATIVE PROJECTS 
GRANT: Ongoing support for 8 artists a 
year who work 30 hours with digital video 
to produce/post with our editor/videogra- 
pher. Docs, political, promo tapes not cov- 
ered by this grant, but low rates and dis- 
counts for all work are available. There is 
no self-use. Send 250-500 word project 
description, resume and SASE to Bill 
Creston and Barbara Rosenthal, at 
eMediaLoft.org, 55 Bethune St. #AAA- 
628, NY, NY 10014-2035. 

FISCAL SPONSORSHIP FOR FILMMAKERS: 

Film Forum, a nonprofit cinema, administers 
grants, retaining 5% of all monies from founda- 
tions, corporations, individuals (but not govern- 
ment sources). Budget must be a minimum of 
$1 00000 & filmmaker must have track record. 
Send brief project description to: Film Forum 
Fiscal Sponsorships, 209 W. Houston St, New 
York, NY 10014. No calls, faxes, e-mails. 

GLOBAL CENTER, a nonprofit, IRS-certified 
501(c)(3) educational foundation, seeks 
filmmakers seeking fiscal sponsors. For more 
info, call (212) 246-0202, or email 
roc@globalvision.org; www.globalvision.org. 

INTERNATIONAL FILM SEMINARS GRANTS- 
IN-AID: A general category of support for those 
interested in attending the 50th Robert Flaherty 



Film Seminar and involved with film and video. 
Awards cover part of the registration fee to 
attend the 50th Robert Flaherty Film Seminar 
held at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie from 
June 12-19, 2004. Deadline: April 5, 2004. 
Contact: Margarita De la Vega-Hurtado, The 
Flaherty/I FS, 6 East 39th St, Rm 1200, New 
York, NY 10016 (212) 448-0457; fax: (212) 
448-0458; ifs@flahertyseminar.org; www.fla- 
hertyseminar.org. 

JEROME FOUNDATION'S MEDIA ARTS 
PROGRAM offers prod, grants ranging from 
$10-30,000 to emerging NYC artists w/ 
works budgeted up to $200,000. Narratives, 
docs, new media & experimental works, as 
well as radio, interactive formats, online pro- 
grams & virtual reality experiments consid- 
ered. Contact program officer Robert Byrd.; 
(651) 224-9431 (or toll-free in NY or MN 
only, (800) 995-3766); fax: 224-3439; 
www.jeromefdn.org. 

JOHN D. & CATHERINE T. MACARTHUR 
FOUNDATION provides partial support to 
selected doc series & films intended for nat'l or 
inf I broadcast & focusing on an issue in one of 
the foundation's 2 major programs (human & 
community development; global security & sus- 
tainability). Send prelim. 2- to 3-pg letter. Contact 
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 
140 S. Dearborn St, Ste. 1100, Chicago, IL 
60603; (312) 726-8000; 4answers 
@macfdn.org; www.macfdn.org. 

LOCAL INDEPENDENTS COLLABORATING 
WITH STATIONS (LINCS) FUND is a funding 
initiative from ITVS that provides matching 
funds (up to $75,000) for collaborations 
between public TV stations & indie produc- 
ers. Projects may be in any stage of develop- 
ment and all genres are eligible, including 
documentary, drama, animation and innova- 
tive combinations. Only single shows, no 
series. Programs should stimulate civic dis- 
course & find innovative ways to explore 
complex regional, cultural, political, social, or 
economic issues. Indie film & videomakers 
are encouraged to seek collaborations w/ 
their local public TV stations. Deadline: April 
30, 2003. Guidelines and apps at 
www.itvs.org, or call Elizabeth Meyer (415) 
365-8383 x270; elizabeth_meyer@itvs.org. 

SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY FUND, sup- 
ports int'l doc films & videos on current 
issues in human rights, social justice & civil 
liberties. Dev. funds for research & prepro- 
duction awarded up to $15,000; works-in- 
progress funds for production or postproduc- 
tion up to $50,000 (average award is 
$25,000). Email sdf@sundance.org, or visit 
www.sundance.org. 




BRENDAN C. FLYNT 

Director of Photography 
for feature films, shorts, and music videos 

credits: 

RED PASSPORT 

20th Century Fox 

BORICUASBOND 

October Films 

TROMEO & JULIET 

1st prize at Fantasia Film Festival 

INBOUND MERCY 

Sundance 

Have Arriflex BL3. 2C. Super 16 Aaton. 
HD. 24p, Lights. Dolly and Crane. 

Contacts with Domestic and Foreign 
Distributors. 

Call anytime at: (212) 208-0968 
www.dpFIynt.com 

email: bcflynt(« yahoo.com 



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January/ February 2004 | The Independent 71 



Classifieds 



Deadline: First of each month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., March 
1 st for April issue). Contact: (21 2) 807- 
1 400, x221 ; fax: (21 2) 463-851 9; clas- 
sifiedsgaivf.org. 

PER ISSUE COST: 0-240 characters 
(incl. spaces & punctuation): $45 for 
nonmembers/$30 for AIVF members; 
241-360 chars: $65/$45; 361-480 
chars: $80/$60; 481-600 chars: 
$95/$75; over 600 characters: Call for 
quote, (212) 807-1400, x241. 
FREQUENCY DISCOUNT: $5 off per 
issue for ads running 5+ times. 

Ads exceeding the specified length will 
be edited. Place ad via www.aivf.org/ 
independent/classifieds or type copy 
and mail with the check or money order 
to: AIVF. 304 Hudson St, 6th Fl., New 
York, NY 1 001 3. Include billing address, 
daytime phone, # of issues, and valid 
member ID# for member discount To 
pay by VISA/MC/AMEX include card #, 
name on card and expiration date. 



BUY ♦ RENT * SELL 

160 SQ. FT PRIVATE. NEWLY REFUR- 
BISHED ROOM - SoHo film production 
office avail, immediately. Fits 3 desks. 
Wireless Internet kitchen, 12" ceilings. 
Utilities included. Month to month or long 
term possible. (212) 625-gi 18. 

24P HD SONY 900 PKG Full Sony CineAJta pkg 
DP with extensive credits/awards. Grip truck 
with Tungsten, HMI, KINO-FtO lighting , track 
dolly, mini jib. All credit cards. For rates and reels 
shoothd@shoothd.com or (203) g81 0969. 

AATON XTR 16/SUP16 camera package for 
rent Canon zooms, Zeiss pnmes & full support 
Abel Maintained. Great rates. (718) 398-6688 
or email: jryrisius@aol.com. 

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE AT LOW PRICES, NO 
RESTRICTIONS: Offering a High Quality. 
Extensive tibrary of Public Domain Footage 
spanning the 20th Century at pnces independ- 
ent producers can afford. Footage Farm (888) 
270- 1414: www.footagefarm.com. 

AVID 1000 AND AVID MC OFFLINE FOR 
RENT. 7/24 building. 7/24 tech support 
Midtown Manhattan. Great rooms, great views. 
Diva Edit at (2 12) 947-8433. 



AVID EXPRESS 2.02 ABVB Macintosh 
9500/132 272Mb RAM 20GB Hard dnve 
(System) 150 GB Hard drives (SCSI-Media) 
AVR 3.1 2.71 &75. 4 Video Tracks (7x OMFI file 
structure) $3,500 or best offer mcl. domestic 
shipping. Call Bill 1(800) 874-8314. 

DP W/ SONY 900 24P HD PKG. Young, cool 
DP with tons of gear. Full grip pkg. HMIs. 
tungsten, doorway dolly, crew contacts etc. If 
I don't have it I can get it cheap. Call for 
more info Steve (917) 573-2470: 
eggjelly@yahoo.com. 

EQUIPMENT RENTALS FOR LOW BUDGETS: 
Production Junction has cameras, iignts. audio 
gear. VTRs and more for day or weekly rental. 
ProductionJunction.com or (917) 288-9000. 

KEEP IT DIGITAL! Digibeta deck for rent (Sony 
A-500) $400/day. $1200/week. Also dubs 
to/from Digibeta to Beta-SR VHS, DVCam, 
mini-DV. etc Uncompressed Avid suite, too. 
Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

LETS MAKE YOUR MOVIE We have a 24 grip 
truck and a 1 4' truck with lighting, electncal etc. 
Also have a 60kw generator mounted on a sep- 
arate truck, a tulip type crane and elmack dolly 
and car trailer. Also have a ARRI 1 6mm camera 
and DAT sound system. I am a very experienced 
actor looking for the right role and deal, in which 
case I would be willing to offer all of the above 
on a deferment basis. Contact Danny at (770) 
540-6729. 

NEED PRODUCER BUT THINK YOU CAN'T 
AFFORD ONE? Expenenced professional tine 
Producer for Budget (detailed/top-sheet). 
Script Breakdown. Schedule. Day-out-of-Days. 
Specialty low budget but high quality 
Annettal_M@aol.com for rates/references. 

OFFICE FOR RENT IN SUITE OF INDIES, 
targe windows, great view. Midtown 7/24 build- 
ing. Short or long term sub-lease. Tel: (212) 
947-1395. 

STEENBECK - 8 PLATE NYC - 2 pic (left 
w/opt/mag track). 2 screens. 2 mag. Digital 
counter. 120v/60w lamp w/dimmer control 
built ml tightbox, left & right speakers, treble, 
bass and master volume control. One of the last 
flatbeds ever made by Steenbeck. $3,800 or 
best offer including domestic shipping. Call 1 
(800) 874-831 4. Ask for Bill. 

WELL MAINTAINED. AFFORDABLE SCREEN- 
ING ROOM on l_A's west side. Perfect for rough 
cuts, test screenings, film-outs & dailies. Film & 
video production starting at $55/hr. New Deal 
Studios screening room: (310) 578-9929. 
www.newdealstudios.com. 




35MM & 16MM PROD. PKG. w/ DP. Complete 
package w/ DPs own Am 35BL 16SR, HMIs, 
lighting, dolly, Tulip crane, camjib, DAT, grip & 
5-ton truck. . . more. Call for reel: Tom Agnello 
(201) 741-4367: roadtoindy@aol.com. 

ACCOUNTANT/ BOOKKEEPER /CON- 
TROLLER: Experience in both corporate & non- 
profit sectors. Hold MBA in Marketing & 
Accounting. Freelance work sought Sam 
Sagenkahn (91 7) 374-2464. 

ARE YOU STUCK? FERNANDA ROSSI, 
SCRIPT & DOCUMENTARY DOCTOR, 
specializes in narrative structure in all 
stages of the filmmaking process, including 
story development fundraising trailers and 
post-production. She has doctored over 
30 films and is the author of "Trailer 
Mechanics." For private consultations and 
workshops visit www.documentarydoc- 
tor.com or write to info@documentary 
doctor.com. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography 
for feature films and shorts. Owns 35mm Arri 
BL 3, Super 1 6. 24p, complete lighting pkg. and 
a Tulip Crane. Best Cinematography Award for 
"Final Round" and other film Awards at 
Sundance. Berlin, and Ramdance. Call for more 
info at :(2 12)208-0968 or www.dpFlyntcom 
email: bcflynt@yahoo.com. 

COMPOSER: creative, experienced multi- 
faceted composer/sound designer excels 
in any musical style and texture to enhance your 
project. Credits incl. award winning 
docus, features. TV films, animations 
on networks, cable. PBS. MTV. Full prod, 
studio in NYC. Columbia MA in composition. 
Free demo CD & consult. Elliot Sokolov 
(2 1 2) 72 1 -32 1 8; elliotsoko@aol.com. 

COMPOSER: Established film scorer, classical- 
ly trained, awards, 100s of commissions, com- 
plete recording facility available for film sound- 
tracks. Tell me what s in your head. (2 1 5) 487- 
9446. www.johnavarese.com. 

COMPOSER: Illuminate Music - Moving Music 
for Moving Images. Composer/producer 
George Whitty's credits incl. 2 Grammies. 
themes & score for CBS. ABC, NBC. Natl. 
Geographic tifetime. Full Prod. Studio in NYC 
area www.illuminatemusiccom. 

COMPOSER JOEL DIAMOND: NYC Studio. 
Credits include "The Believer" Sundance 
Winner. A&E, ESPN. (917) 215-3112: 
www.joeldiamondmusiccom. 



72 The Independent | January/February 2004 



COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER loves to collab- 
orate - docs, features. Lost In La Mancha, 
Sundance/POV Scout's Honor & Licensed To 
Kill, Peace x Peace, Stolen Childhoods, Amy's 
& more. (310) 398-5985 mir.cut@verizon.net; 
www.miriamcutler.com. 

COMPOSER: Original music for your film or 
video project. Will work with any budget. 
Complete digital studio. NYC area Demo CD 
upon request Call Ian O'Brien: (201) 222- 
2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net 

COMPOSER QUENTIN CHIAPPETTA MUSIC 

in any style-orch to electro. Credits-Travel 
Channel, Nat Geo. PBS, NFL, Sundance & fes- 
tivals worldwide. Great refs, pro Studio, 
Eastman grad. Budget conscious! (718 ) 782- 
4535; medianoise@excite.com. 

COMPOSER SARAH PLANT: Original-^ 
licensed music. Arr., flutes: Ang Lee Oscar-nom. 
Eat Drink Man Woman. Scores: PBS, Bravo, 
Canal+, Nat Hist Museum. Classical, contemp, 
int'l. Acoustic+digital studio, www.sarah plant 
music.com. (845) 657-8454. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Am SR 

Super 16/1 6mm & 35BL-2 camera pkgs. 
Expert Lighting & Camerawork for independent 
films. Create that "big film" look on a low budg- 
et Great prices, willing to travel. Matthew (617) 
244-6730; (845) 439-5459. 

DP WITH FILM, VIDEO & LIGHTING/GRIP 

packages. Extensive documentary & independ- 
ent project experience. Well-traveled, multi-lin- 
gual and experience in field producing as well. 
Call Jerry for reel/rates: (718) 398-6688 or 
email jryrisius@aol.com. 

EDITOR FINAL CUT PRO POWER-MAC G4. 

2003-4 NYFA Grant Wnner. $65/hr or by 
day/wk. Discounts: Members of Arts Orgs, 
Unions, Students, Seniors. Transfers, labels, 
dupes, stills, photos, DVDs. Village. Bill Creston, 
eMediaLoftorg (212) 924-4893. 

EDITOR with wide range of skills & experience: 
let's talk about your project Private Beta SP & 
DV editing suite; East Village location. Reel 
available. For more information call (917) 523- 
6260 or go to www.HighNoonProd.com. 

FREELANCE PRODUCER, CONSULTANT, 
WRITER, DIRECTOR work has screened at New 
York Underground and the Knitting Factory. We 
will give you as much or as little help as you need. 
Specializing in low budget underground, and 
short films. 1 6 mm sync sound package available. 
Reasonable rates foadproductions@hotmail.com; 
(917)543-9392. 



GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, 
writing & strategy (for production, distribution, 
exhib. & educational media projects). Successful 
proposals to NYSCA NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, 
Rockefeller, Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation. 
Fast writers, reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, 
(212) 598-0224; www.reddiaper.com. 

IS YOUR GRANT PROPOSAL COMPELLING? 

Seasoned grant writer and proposal editor 
for all film and video projects. Hourly, 
daily or flat rate. Fast and professional. 
Contact Carol Stanger, (212) 369-0851 ; email 
irving 1 00@earthlink.net 

JAY SILVER: Director of Photography, 
Owner/Operator of: Aaton XTRprod S16/R16 
& Arn35 BL3. Experience shooting 
features.commercials, music videos & docs. 
Credits: Wendigo, Persona au Gratin, Eurotrash. 
(718) 383-1 325; jay.silver@verizon.net 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 25 yrs sound exp. w/ 
timecode Nagra & DAT, quality mics & mixers. 
Reduced rates for low-budget projects. Harvey 
& Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; (819) 459- 
2680; edfilms@worldnetattnet; www.edwards- 
films.com. 

STORYBOARD ARTIST: With independent film 
experience. Loves boarding action sequences 
and complicated shots. Save money by having 
shots worked out before cameras roll. Call 
Kathryn Roake. (718) 788-2755. 



OPPORTUNITIES * GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO 
BUSINESS. Free Report Grow a successful 
video business in Legal, Wedding, Corporate, TV 
etc. http://videouniversity.com/50web.html. 

INDEPENDENT FILM AND DESIGN company 
is looking for a uniquely talented production 
associate to be involved with image research 
and lighting on an upcoming film on the: Future 
of the City. For more insight call Chris at: (610) 
346-9164. 

THE COLLEGE OF LITERATURE SCIENCE 
AND THE ARTS at the University of Michigan, 
Ann Arbor, is seeking an outstanding scholar of 
film or electronic media to direct the Program in 
Film and Video Studies. The Program, which has 
enjoyed sustained growth and achievement 
integrates media studies and production within 
a larger university community that encourages 
interdisciplinary dialogues and engagements. 
We invite applications and expressions of inter- 
est from senior colleagues with a distinguished 
record that merits a full-time, tenured appoint- 
ment at the rank of Professor, to begin 



September 2004. Applications are welcome 
from scholars in all humanities-based research 
areas of moving image media Review of appli- 
cations will begin December 1, 2003, and will 
continue until the position is filled. Send sub- 
stantive letter of application that addresses 
scholarly and administrative experience, evi- 
dence of teaching excellence, c.v., and names 
of three references (with addresses, phone 
numbers, and e-mail) to: Chair, Director 
Search Committee, Program in Film and 
Video Studies, University of Michigan, 2512 
Frieze Building, 105 South State Street, Ann 
Arbor, Ml 48109-1285. The University 
of Michigan is an Affirmative Action/ 
Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and 
members of minority groups are encouraged 
to apply. The University is responsive to the 
needs of dual career couples. Additional 
information about the Program in Film and 
Video Studies can be found at its web site, 
http://www.umich.edu/filmvideo. 

THE DEPARTMENT OF MEDIA STUDY AT 
THE UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO seeks an 
independent film artist for Asst Prot/tenure 
track position for Fall 2004. Candidates should 
have substantial experience as independent 
filmmaker-including analog and digital tech- 
nologies. EO/AA employer. http://medias 
tudy.buffalo.edu/s/overview.shtml. 

HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE AND THE FIVE 
COLLEGE Consortium Joint Appointment. 
Assistant Professor of Video/Film Production. 
Hampshire College and the Five College con- 
sortium (Amherst College, Hampshire College, 
Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the 
University of Massachusetts) are pleased to 
announce a regular faculty position at 
the Assistant Professor rank in Video/ 
Film Production. Teaching experience, profes- 
sional recognition, and a strong background in 
history, theory, and criticism are essential. 
Graduate degree or the equivalent required. 
Teaching load will be two courses per semester, 
one offered at Hampshire College, one at 
other institutions in the consortium on a rotating 
basis. (Each member of the consortium is with- 
in 1 5 miles of the others.) Teaching 
at Hampshire College also includes supervision 
of independent work including senior theses, 
advising, and normal college governance. 
Candidate must be comfortable working in an 
interdisciplinary setting. Position begins 
September 1 , 2004, with review of applications 
to begin by December 1, 2003. We offer 
a competitive salary and comprehensive benefit 
program. Send letter of application, curriculum 
vitae (including e-mail address), and three 
letters of reference, at least one of which 
addresses teaching experience, to: Video/ 
Film Search Committee, School of Humanities. 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 73 



Arts, and Cultural Studies. Hampshire 

College, Amherst MA 01002. Affirmative 

Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer. 
www.hampshire.edu. 

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN 
Department of Radio-Television-Film seeks 
to fill a tenure-track screenwnting position. 
Candidates must demonstrate a strong 
creative track record in feature screenwnting. 
Teaching experience is strongly preferred. 
Additional experience with TV writing and/ 
or story development at a studio or production 
company is also highly valued. Terminal Degree 
(MFA PhD) preferred but not required. Salary 
commensurate with experience. Mail cover 
letter, resume, 3 letters of recommendation, 
three work samples to: Professor Richard 
Lewis, Chair, Screenwnting Search Committee. 
The University of Texas at Austin. Department 
of Radio-Television-Film. 1 University Station 
A0800, Austin, TX 78712-0108. The 
Department of Radio-Television-Film has 
25 permanent faculty. approximately 
950 undergraduate majors & 150 graduate 
students pursuing Ph.D, MA or M.FA degrees. 
RTF offers courses in film & video production, 
screenwriting, digital media research & 
design, film & television studies, international 
communication, telecommunication technology 
& policy, gender & sexuality, & ethnic issues 
in communication. For more information 
on the production program, go to: 
www.utexas.edu/coc/rtf/production/ 
index.html. The University of Texas at Austin is 
an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity 
employer. Minonties and women are encour- 
aged to apply. For more information about the 
University, visit the University's home page at 
www.utexas.edu. 

THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN 
Department of Radio-Television-Film seeks to 
fill a tenure-track directing position. Candidates 
must demonstrate a strong creative track 
record in directing feature films. Teaching 



experience is strongly preferred. Additional 
expenence in other aspects of the filmmaking 
process is also highly valued. Terminal 
Degree (MFA PhD) preferred but not required. 
Salary commensurate with experience. 
Mail cover letter, resume. 3 letters of recomen- 
dation. work samples to: Professor Paul Stekler 
Chair, Search Committee, The University 
of Texas at Austin, Department 
of Radio-Television-Film, 1 University Station 
A0800. Austin, TX 78712-0108. The 
Department of Radio-Television-Film has 
25 permanent faculty, approximately 950 
undergraduate majors & 150 graduate 
students pursuing Ph.D., MA or M.FA degrees. 
RTF offers courses in film & video production, 
screenwriting, digital media research & design, 
film & television studies, international communi- 
cation, telecommunication technology 
& policy, gender & sexuality, & ethnic issues 
in communication. For more information 
on the production program, go to: 
www.utexas.edu/coc/rtf/production/ 
indexhtml. The University of Texas at Austin is 
an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity 
employer. Minonties and women are encour- 
aged to apply. For more information about the 
University, visit the University's home page at 
www.utexas.edu. 



PREPRODUCTION 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Exp. Line 
Producer will prepare script break-downs, 
shooting schedules & detailed budgets. Movie 
Magic equipped. Credit cards accepted. Indie 
rates. Mark (212) 340-1243 or 
LineProducerNYC@aol.com. 

SU-CITY PICTURES clients win awards 
& get deals! Susan Kouguell, Tufts instructor, 
author The Savvy Screenwriter analyzes: 
scripts/films/treatments/queries/ 
synopses/pitches. Over 1.000 clients 
worldwide inch Miramax. Warner Bros. Fine 



7ttl ANNUAL 



e LUuh 



Film Testival 



April 15-17, 2004 

University of North Alabama • Florence, AL 35632-0001 

256-765-4592 op www.lindseyfilmfest.com 



DEADLINE for SUBMISSIONS: January 31, 2004 



Line. Rewrites available. (212) 219-9224; 
www5u-city-pictures.com. 

POSTPROPUCnON 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service 
audio post-production services for the 
independent filmmaker. Mix-to-pic, ADR, voice- 
over, sound design and editing. Pro Tools 5.1 
environment Contact Andrew, All Ears Inc: 
(71 8) 789-921 1 ; allearsmc@yahoo.com. 

AVID EDITOR: Over 25 feature films. Also 
Trailers, Docs. TV. Reels. Fully equipped Tnbeca 
AVID suite. FCP, DVD. Pro-tools editing & mix- 
ing. Very fast & easy to get along with. Credit 
cards accepted. Dnna (212) 561-0829. 
DnnaL@aol.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: film-to-tape transfers, 
wet-gate, scene-by-scene, reversal film only. 
Camera ongmal Regular 8mm, Super 8, and 
1 6mm. For appointment call (978) 948-7985. 

CERTIFIED FINAL CUT PRO INSTRUCTOR, 

offenng small workshops and private tutorials. 
For more information: call (9 1 7) 523-6260: e- 
mail Hinoonprod@aol.com or log on to 
www.HighNoonFVod.com. 

FINISH! YOUR VIDEO/FILM PROJECT! Save 
money and leam for yourself with semi-assisted 
guidance. Expert explainer will clarify all remain- 
ing steps, teach you how to do it or provide 
assistance. Resolve strategies, mixing plans, 
sync issues, etc DV and 1 6mm editing, transfer, 
and sound mixing too. Initial consultation 
includes clear summary report outlining detailed 
"next steps," proper sequence, and why. Low 
intra rate. (212) 777-1 180; info@editlab.com. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim tran- 
scnption service for documentaries, journalists, 
film and video. Low prices & flat rates based on 
tape length, www.productiontranscnpts.com for 
details or call: (888) 349-3022. 

SOUND EDIT/DESIGN/MIX: Protools HD. 
5.1, M&E AVID &FCP equipped. 10 Years 
Experience. Dozens of Features and Shorts. TV. 
Docs, Trailers, Spots. Flat Rate Packages avail- 
able. Credit Cards. Frank, Mark (212) 340- 
4770. SoundDesignMix@aol.com. 

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT. Reach millions of 
people, including audiences, investors, distribu- 
tors, and more. Devi Studios designs profes- 
sional, powerful, beautiful, and low-cost sites 
for you. Free estimates. See portfolio at 
www.devistudios.com. 



74 The Independent | January/February 2004 




January/ 
February 

AIVF PRESENTS: 

MORRIE 
WARSHAWSKI'S 

SHAKING THE 
MONEY TREE: 

HOW TO GET 
GRANTS AND 
DONATIONS FOR YOUR 
FILM/VIDEO PROJECT 

when: Sat., Jan. 10, 9-9:30 am 

registration, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm 

workshop. 

where: AIVF 

cost: $165/$ 125 AIVF, WMM and 

FVA members. Advanced purchase 

is highly recommended. You can 

register at www.aivf.org/store or call 

212/807-1400x301. 

Nationally recognized media consult- 
ant Morrie Warshawski presents his 
popular, full-day workshop on how to 
effectively raise money for independ- 
ent projects, including the best ways 
to approach individuals, foundations, 
and corporations; conduct research; 
write a grant proposal. Participants 
will receive a copy of the 2nd edition 
of Shaking the Money Tree and an exten- 
sive packet full of information and 
references on fundraising. For infor- 
mation visit www.warshawski.com. 

Morrie Warshawski's fundraising workshop is 
sponsored by Public Media: 
www.PublicMedialnc.org 



IN BRIEF: 

FILM FINANCING: 
PRIVATE OFFERINGS 

when: Thurs., Jan. 29, 
6:30-8:30 p.m. 




where: AIVF 

cost: $40/$25 AIVF members 
Series Fees: 5 sessions pass $100 for 
AIVF members; $160 general public. 
Advanced purchase is highly recom- 
mended. Register at 
www.aivf.org/store or call 212/807- 
1400x301. 

The AIVF Producers' Legal Series 
helps answer legal and business ques- 
tions about structuring and negotiat- 
ing deals in film and television. It also 
introduces independents to legal and 
business resources. 

This session presents successful legal 
and business strategies for raising 
funds from private investors, includ- 
ing private placement deals, securities 
laws, and disclosure documents. 

IN BRIEF: 

FILM FINANCING: CABLE TV 

when: Thurs., Feb. 19, 6:30-8:30 pm 

where: AIVF 

cost: $40/$25 ATvT members 

This session will address the structure 
and negotiating strategies for cable 
financing deals, pitching your project, 
and reserving foreign and non-broad- 
cast media rights. 




MEET & GREET: 
TAXES FOR 
INDEPENDENTS 

when: Tues. Feb. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
where: ATvT 

cost: $10 members/$20 general 
Advanced purchase is highly recom- 
mended. Register at www.aivf.org/store 
or call 212/807-1400x301. 

Join CPAs Steve Cooperberg (Todres & 
Rubin) and Martin Bell (Bell & Co.) to 



get the skinny on filing taxes as an 
independent contractor or small busi- 
ness. The workshop will be followed by 
short meetings with participants 
(bring your questions). 



DI2004 

IAN 30-FEB 1,2004 

>AN FRANCISCO MARRIOTT 



AIVF RECOMMENDS: 

DIGITAL 

INDEPENDENCE 

2004 

CONFERENCE 

when: Jan. 30- Feb. 1 

where: San Francisco 



Hosted by the Independent Television 
Service (nVS) and supported by the 
Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller 
Foundation, and the Trust for Mutual 
Understanding, the Digital Indepen- 



reach AIVF... 

Filmmakers' Resource Library 
hours: Wednesday 11-9 or by 
appt. to AIVF members 
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 1 1 -6. 

The AIVF office is located at 

304 Hudson St. (between Spring & 

Vandam) 6th fl., in New York City. 

Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 
houses hundreds of print and 
electronic resources, from essential 
directories & trade magazines to 
sample proposals & budgets. 

By phone: (212)807-1400 
Recorded information available 
24/7; operator on duty 
Tuesday-Friday 2-5 p.m. EST 



By internet: 

www.aivf.org; info@aivf.org 



January/February 2004 | The Independent 75 




"Rarely 

has Reality 

needed so much 

tobe imagined." 

-Chris Marker 

Flickering to life 

in the city with 

the country's oldest 
journalism school the 
inaugural True /False 

Film Festival win focus 

on films that breathe 

new life into the 

nonfiction format. 

We will also throw 

some kickass parties. 
Please join us. 

The True/False Film Festival 

Columbia, Missouri • Feb 13-15, 2004 

www.truefalse.org 



dence 2004 conference addresses the 
impact of digital production and distribu- 
tion on independent content makers. How- 
will the conflicts over open source, copy- 
right, mass media rulings, and digital stan- 
dards impact independent work? Are 
indies shaping the future of technology— or 
is technology shaping indies? 

AIVF AT SUNDANCE 2004: 
FILMMAKER LODGE 

when: January 15-25 
where: Park City, UT 

This year Sundance continues the 
Filmmaker Lodge with a series of panels, a 
resource library, and receptions and gather- 
ings designed to cultivate dialogue between 
established and emerging filmmakers, 
industry leaders, and the press. Stop by to 
visit with representatives of AIVF on 
January 19! 

For more information, visit www.sundance.org 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT: 
FILMS AT 

LINCOLN 

CENTER 

where: Walter Reade Theatre, 
Lincoln Center, 165 W 65th St., NYC 
www. filmlinc.com 

AJVF members may attend select series 
(see below) at a discounted rate— just S5 
per ticket. Bring your membership card 
to the box office! 




Through January 12 - Not of This Earth: 

Sci-fi Unbound 

January 9-10, 16-17, 23-24 - Dance on 

Camera Festival 2004 

January 13-29 - 13th Annual New York 

Jewish Film Festival 

January 29-February 12 - Jerzy 

Kawalerowicz Retrospective 

February 13-26 - 3rd Annual Film 

Comment Selects 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT: 
FILM /VIDEO ARTS 

where: 462 Broadway, Suite 520 
cost: See www.fva.com/education/edu_ 
main. htm for course descriptions, fees 
and registration info. Also, contact 
F/VA's Education Dept. at 212-941-8787 
ext. 11 to register and mention ATVF's 
course discount. 

AIVF members who are not F/VA members 
receive a 10% discount on courses the first 
time they register. Joining F/VA enables 
ART members to be eligible for a 20% dis- 
count. Since 1968 Film/Video Arts has pro- 
vided superb training at affordable rates 
for new and veteran film, video, and digital 
media producers— plus editing services, 
fiscal sponsorship, mentoring programs, 
and a community of fellow filmmakers. 
Some of their upcoming workshops 
include: 

January 5: Directing your Documentary 
January 7: DVD Authoring 
January 10: Proposal Writing for Docs 
February 16: One- Week Avid Master 
February 17: Budgeting your Indie 
Narrative Feature 



CALL FOR 
ENTRIES 

OHIO INDEPENDEN 
FILM FESTIVA 



pendent pictures 



DEADLINE 

June 1st 
July 1st (Late) 



6.651.7315 



0FILMS.COM 



76 The Independent | January/February 2004 



' I 



WE'RE AS SERIOUS ABOUT YO 

TILM CARE 

AS YOU ARE. 




n. 13, 6-8 p.m. 

NYU Midtown Center, 4th Floor 

11 West 42nd Street 

(between Fifth and Sixth Avenues) 

Presentations begin on time; please be punctual. 



PROGRAM 


• Film Production 


• Film and Television Studies 


AREAS 


• Post-Production 


• Digital Television Production 


INCLUDE: 


• Directing and Producing 


• Entertainment Media Management 




• Digital Editing 


• High Definition Cinematography 



Intensive Digital Video Production 
Internships and Independent Study 
Day, evening, and intensive 
programs at convenient locations 



To make it in the highly competitive world of film, you have to be focused. That's why 
the programs from the Film, Video, and Broadcasting Department at NYU's School of 
Continuing and Professional Studies give you the skills you need to meet today's challenges 
and become one of the best in the business. Learn from a faculty of leading professionals 
who share their invaluable career experiences. 

Develop your expertise using state-of-the art equipment and labs. And through hands-on 
collaboration with fellow students, experience the working environment - from directing 
to writing to production. Make valuable industry connections that will last you a lifetime, 
and emerge as a filmmaker from one of the world's most respected institutions of film 
education and higher learning. Contact us today for our new bulletin. 



1-800-FINDNYU, ext.79 



www.scps.nyu.edu/x79 



Nbvyork 

JIIVERSnY 

School of Continuing jihI 
Professional Studies 




New York University is an atlirmatiwe action/equal opoortjmty institution O2003 New York Univetsity School of Continuing and Prol 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide an 
opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share 
war stories, and connect with the AIVF 
community across the country. 

Visit www.aivf.org/regional for an over- 
view of the broad variety of Regional 
Salon programs. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon 
leader to confirm date, time, and location 
of the next meeting. 

Albany/Troy, NY: 
Upstate Independents 

When: First Tuesdays. 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Arcs Center of che Capital 
Region 265 River Street. Trow NY 
Contact: Jeff Burns. (518) 366-1538 
albany@aivf.org 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdavs. 7 p.m. 

Where: Redlight Cafe 

553 Amsterdam Ave. 

Contact: Mark Smith. (404) 352-4225 xl2 

atlanta@aivf.orcr: www. imagefA-.org 

Austin, TX: 

Contact: Jen White. (512) 917-3027 
austin@aivf.org 

Boston, MA: Center for 
Independent Documentary 

Contact: Susan Walsh. (781) "84-3627 
boston@aivf.org 

Boulder, CO: 

"Films for Change" Screenings 

When: First Tuesdays. ~ p.m. 

Where: Boulder Public Librarv 

1000 Arapahoe 

Contact: Michael Hill. 

(303) 442-8445 xlOO: boulder@aivf.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays. 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston Count;' Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini. (843) 805-6841: or 

Peter Wennvorth. charleston@aivf.org 

Cleveland, OH: 

Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota. (216) 651-7315: cleveland@aivf.org 
www.ohiofilms.com 

Columbia, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar. 12 1 1 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers. (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivf.org 



Dallas, TX: 

Video Association of Dallas 

When: Bi-Monthly 

Contact: Bart Weiss. (214) 428-8700 

dallas@aivf.org 

Edison, NJ: 

Where: Passion River Productions. 
190 Lincoln Huv. 

Contact: Allen Chou. (732) 32 1-0" 1 1 
edison@aivf.org: www. passion river.com 

Fort Wayne, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 691-3258; fornvayne@aivf.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays. 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Man- Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivf.org 

Huntsville, AL: 

Contact: Charles White, (256) 895-0423 
hunts\-ille@ai\ , f.org 

Jefferson County, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby, (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounn-@aivf.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska 
Independent Film Project 

When: Second Wednesdays. 5:30 p.m. 
Where: Telepro. 1844 N Street 
Contact: Jared Minary. lincoln@ai\-f.org, 
(402) 467-1077. www.nifp.org 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

When: Third Mondays. 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV. 1653 18th St.. 

Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivf.org 

Milwaukee, Wl: Milwaukee 
Independent Film Society 

When: First Wednesdays. 7 p.m. 
Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 
2821 North 4th. Room 140 
Contact: Laura Gembolis 
(414) 688-2375: milwaukee@aivf.org 
www.mifs.org salon 

Portland, OR: 

Where: Hollywod Theatre 

Contact: David Bryant. (503) 244-4225 

portland@aivf.org 

Rochester, NY: 

Where: Visual Studies Workshop 

Contact: Liz Lehmann 

(585) 377-1109; rochester@aivf.org 



San Diego, CA: 

When: Monthly 

Where: Media Arts Center, 921 25th 

Street 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo 

(619) 230-1938; sandiego@aivf.org 

San Francisco, CA: 

Contact: Tami Saunders 
(650) 271-0097; 
sanfrancisco@aivf.org 

Seattle, WA: Seattle 

Indie Network 

When: Bi-Monthly 

Where: Wiggly World and 

911 Media Arts Center 

Contact: Heather Ayres. (206) 200-0933; 

Wes Kim. (206) 719-6261: seattle@aivf.oij 

Tucson, AZ: 

Contact: Rachel Sharp, (520) 906-7295 
tucson@aivf.org 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres. DC Salon hotline, 
(202) 661-7145, washingtondc@aivf.org 



DAY OF THE DEAD 

The Cleveland Salon, along with 
Independent Pictures, recently 
completed its fourth annual 
Director of Photography workshop 
which allows members a rare 
opportunity to create a film in one 
day and then see it on the big 
screen only days later. During the 
workshop, three directors of pho- 
tography have two hours each to 
light, stage, direct and shoot a film 
using only two rolls of 1 6mm film 
and the workshop participants as 
crew and talent The films must 
correspond to a theme, which this 
year was Dia de los Muertos (Day 
of the Dead). After the film is 
processed, it is shown at the Ohio 
Independent Film Festival— which 
in November 2003 celebrated its 
10th anniversary— where partici- 
pants can see and appreciate the 
fruits of their labor. 

— Annetta Marion 



78 The Independent | January/February 2004 



AIVF THANKS 



The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) provides a wide range of programs and services for independent 
moving image makers and the media community, including The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars 
and workshops, information services, and arts and media policy advocacy. 

None of this work would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



& 



NYSCA 



The Academy Foundation 

Adobe Systems, Inc. 

Bombay Sapphire 

The Caliban Foundation 

City of New York Dept. of Cultural Affairs 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Home Box Office 

The Jewish Communal Fund 



The Grand Marnier Foundation 

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

The New York Community Trust 

New York Foundation for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

Panasonic USA 

Sony Electronics Corporation 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 



Business/Industry Members: AL Cypress Moon Produc 
tions; AZ: Duck Soup Productions; CA: Adobe Systems, Inc., 
Eastman Kodak Co.; Groovy Like a Movie; SJPL Films, Ltd. 
Ultimatum Entertainment; CO: Pay Reel; DC: 48 Hour Film Project 
FL: E.M. Productions; IL: Kartemquin Films; Roxie Media Corp. 
Urban Work Productions; Wonderdog Media, Inc.; IN: The 
Storyteller Workshop; MA: Escape TV; MD: NewsGroup, Inc.; 
Walterry Insurance; Ml: 10th Street Productions; Grace & Wild 
Studios, Inc.; Michael Kuentz Communications; NH: Kinetic Films; 
NJ: Alternative Media & Resources International; Lumiere Media; 
Panasonic USA; NV: Broadcast Productions; NY: Analog Digital 
International, Inc.; Arc Pictures; Arts Engine, Inc.; Bluprint Films; 
Cataland Films; Cypress Films; DNT 88 Productions; Downtown 
Avid; Forest Creatures Entertainment; Fred Siegel CPA; Free Dream 
Films; Getcast.com; InDigEnt; Interflix; Karin Bacon Events 
Lightworks Producing Group; Mad Mad Judy; Metropolis Film Lab 
Moxie Firecracker Films; Off Ramp Films, Inc.; Persona Films, Inc. 
Post Typhoon Sky, Inc.; Robin Frank Management; Roja 
Productions; Tribune Pictures; PA: Cubist Post & Effects; Rl: The 
Revival House; VA: Dig Productions; Kessler Productions; Wl: 
Image Pictures, LLC; Tweedee Productions 

Nonprofit Members: AL: Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; 
CA: Berkeley Documentary Center; Film Arts Foundation; 
International Buddhist Film Festival; Sundance Institute; USC 
School of Cinema and TV; CO: Denver Center Media; CT: New 
Haven Film Festival; DC: American University, School of 
Communication; Spark Media; FL: Florida State University Film 
School; Sarasota Film Festival; University of Tampa; GA: Image 
Film and Video Center; Savannah College of Art and Design; IL: Art 
Institute of Chicago; Community Film Workshop; Community 
Television Network; Light Bound; John D. and Catherine T 
MacArthur Foundation; Northern Illinois University, Department of 
Communications; MA: CCTV; Documentary Educational Resources; 
Emerson College, Visual & Media Arts; Long Bow Group; Lowell 
Telecommunications Group; LTC; MD: 7 Oils Production; Laurel 
Cable Network; Ml: Ann Arbor Film Festival; MN: IFP/MSP; Walker 
Art Center; MO: Webster University Film Series; MS: Magnolia 
Independent Film Festival; NC: Cucalorus Film Foundation; Duke 
University, Film & Video; University of North Carolina, Wilmington; 
NE: Great Plains Film Festival; Nebraska Independent Film 
Project/AIVF Salon Lincoln; Ross Film Theater, UN-Lincoln; NJ: 



Black Maria Film Festival; Freedom Film Society; NM: University of 
New Mexico; NY: American Museum of Natural History; Bronx 
Council on the Arts; Center for New American Media,- Chicks with 
Flicks Film Festival; Cinema Arts Centre; Cornell Cinema; Council 
for Positive Images, Inc.; Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing 
Rooster Arts; Department of Media Study SUNY Buffalo; 
Educational Video Center; Experimental Television Center; Film and 
Video Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Film 
Video Arts; Firelight Media; Globalvision, Inc.; Learning Matters; 
Listen Up!; LMC-TV; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; National 
Black Programming Consortium; National Museum of the American 
Indian; National Video Resources; New School, Dept. of 
Communications/Film Department; New York Women in Film and 
Television; Non Profit Media Group; Paper Tiger; POV/The American 
Documentary; Squeaky Wheel; Standby Program; Stony Brook Film 
Festival; Syracuse University; Witness; Women Make Movies; OH: 
Athens Center for Film & Video; Cleveland Film Society; OR: Art 
Institute Portland; Northwest Film Center; PA: DUTV Cable 54; 
Prince Music Theater; Scribe Video Center; WYBE Public TV 35; Rl: 
Flickers Arts Collaborative; Rhode Island School of Design; SC: 
Hybrid Films; South Carolina Arts Commission; TX: Austin Film 
Society; CAGE, Dept. of Radio and Film; UT: Sundance Institute; 
VT: The Noodlehead Network; WA: Seattle Central Community 
College; Thurston Community Television; Wl: UWM Department of 
Film; Bermuda: Bermuda International Film Festival; Canada: The 
Banff Centre Library; France: The Camargo Foundation; India: 
Foundation for Universal Responsibility; Singapore: Ngee Ann 
Polytechnic Library 

Friends Of AIVF: Angela Alston, Tom Basham, David Bemis, 
Carl Canner, Liz Canner, Williams Cole, Arthur Dong, Martin 
Edelstein, Esq., Paul Espinosa, Phoebe Ferguson, Lucy Garrity, 
Catherine Gund, Peter Gunthel, David Haas, Kyle Henry, Lila 
Jackson, Amelia Kirby, Amie Knox, Stan Konowitz, Leonard Kurz, 
Lyda Kuth, Bart Lawson, Regge Life, Juan Mandelbaum, Diane 
Markrow, Tracy Mazza, Leonard McClure, Daphne McDuffie-Tucker, 
Robert Millis, Elizabeth Peters, David Reynolds, Robert Richter, 
Hiroto Saito, Larry Sapadin, James Schamus, John Schmidt, Nat 
Segaloff, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Gail Silva, Innes Smolansky, 
Barbara Sostaric, Miriam Stern, George Stoney, Cathy & James 
Sweitzer, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Karl Trappe, 
Cynthia Travis, Jane Wagner, Bart Weiss 



the list 



Some of Our Favorite Shots 

By Jessica McDowell 

What makes one scene in a film stand out from all the rest? This 

month, we asked a handful of cinematographers and DPs to tell us 

about the most memorable scenes they've worked on throughout their 

careers. The criteria ranged from unique technical setup to the emotional 

or physical intensity provided by the actors in the scene. 



"My favorite scene was the back-of-the-car sex scene in Mary 
Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore. We set up the lights, taped the mike 
to the ceiling, and closed the set. Since I was the shooter and 
director, it was just me filming the actors making out. It was 
such an intimate moment, very intense, lots of trust. It came 
out looking great and ended up being the most powerful 
scene in the movie. I have never watched it with an audience 
and heard anything but awed silence." 

—Sarah Jacobson. 
/ Was a Teenage Serial Killer, Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore 

"A scene from Requiem for a Dream in which Harry Goldfarb 
(Jared Leto) learns that his mother Sarah Goldfarb (Ellen 
Burstyn) has developed an addiction to pills. It's a 
rather simple photographic set deconstructed by 
Darren Aronofsky and myself in a subtle and 
simple way to gain maximum effect from the 
narrative. We begin on one side of the stage 
line in over-the-shoulder shots for each char- 
acter. As the scene develops. Ham' senses that 
his mother is tweaking— the height of his real- 
ization is the sound of his mother's grinding 
teeth. The camera begins to move 180 degrees from 
the initial side of the line to the opposite side, turning from 
a single shot on Harry's perplexed expression and ending on 
Sarah's close-up. Combined with tour de force performanc- 
es by Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn, this simple technique 
gave the scene such resonance for me as a filmmaker: its 
meaning is the core of the story— (both) in the film and the 
novel by Hubert Selby Jr. from which it came. It held such 
emotional weight for me on a personal level that I struggled 
to maintain the frame. In that moment, I knew that I was 
experiencing the very reason that I make film . . . for that rare 
moment where you are a part of something that has the 
power to truly touch humanity." 

—Matthew Libatique ASC. 
Requiem For a Dream. Gothika 

"I was shooting my Down's Sjndrome brother, Mart)', [who I 
call] Mart-Face, on a gold couch. I asked him about death— his 
death. He started talking about heaven, and the fact that 




Desiree Delight, nicknamed Desi, his beloved sable and gold 
tiger cat would be with him, in heaven, when he died (in 200 
years!) While he was talking, I got the idea to run upstairs, get 
Desi and add her to the scene. \X1iat followed is one of my 
favorite scenes from any mo\ie anywhere: Mart-Face telling 
Desi how much he loves her, and how beautiful heaven would 
be. The fact that Mart-Face and Desi are both together in 
heaven now makes that scene powerful and profound." 

—Leslie Chain. 
Ma?t-Face 

"The finale of the feature length narrative Vince Del Rio— 
the US Olympic qualifying track and field meet. Vince 
Del Rio, the protagonist, needs to qualify at the 
5km distance to validate the last ten years of his 
life. The challenges for the cast and crew 
included a variety of issues. To cover the race 
appropriately, the schedule listed over 100 
setups during four overnight shoots. Plus, the 
Mike A. Myers Stadium at The University of 
Texas in Austin had to look like it was sold out 
for the event. On one night, there were 250 extras 
on hand to provide a crowd for certain shots. We used 
those 250 people, CGI compositing, and 500 cardboard 
cutouts to make the stadium look like it was filled to its 
capacity of around 10,000 spectators. On the third night, 
the runners experienced the toughest day of the shoot for 
them. They were all very dedicated, running in shot after 
shot and never complaining. It seemed like they ran the 
whole night. Then, when we wrapped at 6am, a handful of 
the runners jumped in their cars and drove for two hours to 
compete in a 10km race somewhere else! They were back in 
time to run for the last night of the shoot. Incredible. After 
the fourth night, champagne was toasted and all the gear 
was wrapped, but there was one last race to run. It wasn't 
pretty, but the race provided a context for the challenges 
that the cast and crew of Vince Del Rio faced while creating 
and capturing the finale of the movie." 

—Jim Eastburn, 

Vince del Rio, Blaze Folw Documentary 

Jessica McDowell is an intern at The Independent. 



80 The Independent | January/February 2004 




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March 2004 | Volume 27 Number 2 | www.aivf.org 



contents 




a 







Features 



33 THE IDFA FORUM 

Amsterdam's three-day pitch-fest can 
make or break a film and its maker. 
[by Christine Schomer] 

36 THE "P' FACTOR 

Female filmmakers discuss how gender 
has impacted their careers-or not. 
[by Erin Torneo] 

40 THE GIRL TEAM 

All-women production teams are changing the 
industry-one little film at a time. 
[by Elizabeth Angell] 

44 MYDOCMYUFE 

Four docmakers explain the struggle to remain 
loyal to their subjects, and themselves. 
[by Nancy Schwartzman] 



AVF 



association of independent 
video and filmmakers 



Photos: The three day pitching session in Amsterdam 
known as the IDFA (courtesy of Fleur Knopperts at 
IDFA); behind the lens: filmmaker Tanya Steele (Seith 
Mann); Farah Jasmine Griffin in Aishah Shahidah 
Simmons' NO!. 

Page 5 photos: Meg and Jack White in Jim Jarmusch's 
Coffee and Cigarettes, produced by Deutsch/Open 
City Films; protestors in the documentary Farmingville 
which premiered at Sundance this year (Catherine 
Tambini & Carlos Sandoval); Macon Blair in 
Crabwalk, which won the Grand Jury Sparky Award 
for Best Short Narrative at Slamdance 2004 (Lab of 
Madness); Ingnd Betancourt's mother, Yolanda 
Pulecio, and husband, Juan Carlos Lecompte, hold a 
cardboard image of the kidnapped presidential candi- 
date in The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt (cour- 
tesy of HBO). 

On the Cover: Filmmaker Julie Talen on the set of 
Pretend (Cynthia Stewart). 



March 2004 | The Independent 3 





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contents 




Upfront 



EDITOR'S LETTER 

NEWS Screenwriter Mylo Carbia starts her own 
company; Tribeca Film Institute launches 
minority program and reopens the Screening 
Room; New DVD/VHS labels. 
[by Alyssa Worsham and Sonya Fatah] 

PROFILE Top casting director Avy Kaufman; 
Haitian political activist Michelle Montas. 
[by Austin Bunn and Theresa Smolen] 

DOC DOCTOR: Synching the biological clock with 
a filmmaking career; making docs in old age. 
[by Fernanda Rossi] 

FIELD REPORT: New Orleans, Louisiana: A whole 
lot more than Mardi Gras and jazz. 
[by Margaret Coble] 

FUNDER FAQ Deutsch/Open City Films. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

FESTIVAL CIRCUIT Producers' reps at Sundance; 
a decade of minor anarchy at Slamdance. 
[by Bo Mehrad and Susan Diane Freel] 

ON VIEW Cinemax's The Kidnapping of Ingrid 
Betancourt and Los Cybrids' new project. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

BOOKS Three new how-to's tell it like it is. 
[by Alyssa Worsham] 



Departments 

POLICY The low-down on public funding. 
[by Matt Dunne] 

LEGAL Name actor negotiations. 
[by Robert L Seigel] 

THE LIST What we learned from Mom. 
[by Jessica McDowell] 



Listings 

FESTIVALS 
FILMS/TAPES WANTED 

CLASSIFIEDS 
NOTICES 

AIVF 

AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
SALONS 



March 2004 | The Independent 5 




Attention Surrealists 

The International Surrealist Film Festival 2004 
CALL FOR ENTRIES 

Festival Dates: April 11, 2004 at the RICH FORUM, Stamford, CT 
Go to www.oniongod.com for entry form and rules. 



Entry Fee: $35 

Prizes: a 16mm Bolex Movie Camera (two 
awards ceremonies will occur this year) 

All genres and lenghts wanted - 
WE will decide what is surreal 

Preview Formats: VHS. DVD 

ENTRY DEADLINE: March 26, 2004 



International Surrealist 
Film Festival 
c/o Paul Yates 
PO Box 10718 
Stamford CT 06904 USA 
oniongod@ix.netcom.com 




thelndependent 

■ I FILM* VIDEO MONTHLY 



Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 
[publisher@aivf.org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Carroll 
[ediior@aivf.org) 

Managing Editor: Shana Liebman 
[irulependerri@aivf.org] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 
[jason@aivf.otTj] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 
[suzyflood® hotmail.com ] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 
[josti@aivt.org) 

Editorial Interns: Sonya Fatah; Jessica McDowell; 

Timothy Schmidt 
[editonalmtern@aiv1.org; notices@aivf.org: graphics 5 aivt.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Pat Aufderheide, Maud Kersnowski. Bo Mehrad, 

Cara Mertes. Robert L Seigel, Esq. 

Proofreader: Susan Freel 
[usinsusan@yahoo.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x225: [displayads@aivf.org] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 
(212) 807-1400 x232; [vemnica@aivf.org] 

Classified Advertising: 
|classilieds@aivf.org] 



National Distribution: 
Ingram Periodicals (800) 627-6247 



POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

7fie Independent Rm I Video Month!/, 304 Hudson St., 

6 fl.. New York, NY 10013 

The Independent Rim ilfideo Monthly (ISSN 1077-8918) is published month- 
ly (except combined issues January/ February and July/August) by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Film (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) dedicated 
to the advancement of media arts and artists. Subscription to the maga- 
zine is included in annual membership dues ($55/yr individual; S35/yr stu- 
dent; $100/yr nonprofit/school; $150/yr business/industry) paid to the 
Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), the national pro- 
fessional association of individuals involved in moving image media. Library 
subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: AIVF. 304 Hudson St., 6 fl.. New York, NY 
10013. (212) 807-1400; fax: (212) 463-8519; info@aivf.org. 

Periodical Postage paid at New York. New York 
and at additional mailing offices. 

Printed in the USA by Cadmus Specialty Publications 



_ . _ Publication of The Independent is made possible in 

^y part with public funds from the New York State 

:.',,.:,'. Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the National 

Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 



Publication of any ad in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement. 
AIVF is not responsible for any claims made in an ad. All contents are copy- 
right of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints 
require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Sonia Malta, program 
director; Pnscilla Grim, membership and advocacy director; Bo Mehrad. 
information services associate: Greg Gilpatrick technology consultant; 
Cynthia Carrion, Joseph Colista. Catherine Gulacsy interns: AIVF/FIVF legal 
counsel: Robert I. Freedman. Esq., Cowan, OeBaets. Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF Board of Directors: Liz Canner, Anne del Castillo. Doug Hawes-Davis. 
Reggie Life, Michele Meek. Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), Miriam Stem, 
Simon Tarr. Rahdi Taylor, Elizabeth Thompson, Jim Vincent Bart Weiss. 

© Foundation for Independent Video & Film. Inc. 2004 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 



6 The Independent | March 2004 




Editor's 
Letter 

Being a woman 
is and has 
always been the 
easiest part of 
my identity. To 
wit, I seldom see 
what the fuss is 
all about in 
terms of parity 
with men and a lack of opportunities 
and all the rest. I actually think it's kind 
of funny that men think they wield all 
this power, when in fact, it seems 
pretty clear that whatever power they 
wield doesn't extend much beyond how 
it relates to women. For most men 
there's always a mother or a wife or a 
daughter or some girl somewhere who 
tugs at their masculinity and sense of 
purpose in life. And while I find it 
absurd and aggressively common when 
men do things like catcall (and I fre- 
quently resist the temptation to ask 
them if that ever genuinely works), I 
cannot stand these conversations about 
the hopelessness of men, which almost 
invariably end up being shallow 
metaphorical critiques of their nether 
regions. These kinds of conversations 
always strike me as unimaginative, and 
sort of beneath us as women. 

All that said, I do recognize and 
understand that the world does not 
revolve around my perception of wom- 
anhood, and also, that the women of 
my generation are not called upon to 
perform the same fight and fury as 
those from the generations of Gloria 
Steinem or Ida B. Wells (as confirmed 
by three young filmmakers in Erin 
Torneo's article "The 'F' Factor"). Still, I 
must be honest in saying that I was 
reluctant to run an issue with a 
"Women in Film" theme. Not simply 
because I like being a woman and 
would rather not have that fact "cele- 
brated" or addressed in a collective way, 
but also because themes, in general are 
so, well, "theme-y." 

On the other hand, themes can also 
serve as a framework— like grammar. 



My high school English teacher used to 
say to me: "Get the grammar down, then 
you can be as wild as you want." So, 
when assigning the pieces for this issue, 
I tried to use the "Women in Film" 
theme as a kind of grammatical frame- 
work within which to offer as wildly 
broad a range of styles, perspectives and 
ideas as possible— ones that are by and 
about women but also go beyond 
women and the conventional notions of 
what women do and why we do it. 

Documentary filmmaker Nancy 
Schwartzman interviewed four interna- 
tional women filmmakers, and allowed 
them to answer in their own words what 
it's like to work with risky and provoca- 
tive material that will almost always 
require them to defend it, explain it, and 
to try to remain loyal to it. Freelance 
writer Erin Torneo conducts a smart 
and edgy survey of women filmmakers 
at different stages in their careers with 
the intention of trying to gauge where 
women are, and how far we've come, in 
the industry. A perhaps silly and coun- 
terproductive approach, says multi- 
channel maverick Julie Talen, who was 
interviewed for the article and offers this 
rich and refreshing apothegm: "The 
assumption is that women are a strange 
subset and that the real people who are 
[making films] are male." 

Elizabeth Angell profiles five female 
producing teams, ranging from veter- 
ans in the field to young but estab- 
lished teams to the newly incorporated. 
Albany-based journalist Theresa 
Smolen profiles Michelle Montas, the 
widow of Haitian crusader for democ- 
racy and Director of Radio Haiti Inter, 
Dominique Jean (Jean is also the sub- 
ject of a new doc by Jonathan Demme). 
And frequent contributor to The New 
York Times Magazine Austin Bunn talks 
to one of the go-to girls of independent 
film casting, Avy Kaufman. 

Enjoy, and thanks for reading 
The Independent, 
Rebecca Carroll 
Editor-in-Chief 




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(gross: PAL), Progressive/Interlace Scan 

1/4, 1/8, 1/15. 1/30, 1/60. 1/90, 1/100, 1/125. 1/180. 1/250. 
1/350, 1/500, 1/725. 1/1000. 1/1500, 1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000. 
1/6000. 1/10000 second (NTSC) 

1/3, 1/6, 1/12, 1/25, 1/50, 1/60, 1/100, 1/120, 1/150. ' 215 
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Minimum Illumination: 


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Audio Signal Rec: 


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48 kHz/1 6-bit, 22 kHz 12-bit 22 kHz 1 6-bit. 44.1 kHz/16-bit 


Built-in Speaker 


Dynarr : 2r~=-e' 


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Tape Speed: 


Approx. 28.2 mm/sec (DVCAM mode) 
Approx. 18.8 mm/sec (DV SP mode) 


Maximum Recording Time: 40 minutes (DVCAM mode) 
60 minutes (DV SP mode) 


Video Signal: 


BA Standard, NTSC color system (DSR-PD1 70) 

22 R 5-2"=-:: PAL :: :- = r-:- - - ~ ~ 



Connectors 



Video IN/OUT: 



Audio IN/OUT: 



S-Vldeo IN/OUT: 



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, = 1 2 -■= . z -z NTSC). 0.3 Vp-p (PAL) 



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Operating temperature: 



0to40°C(32to104'F) 



Storage temperature: 



-20to60 = C(-4to140°F) 



Power Requirements: 



DC 7.2 V (Battery). DC 8.4 V (AC adaptor- 



Power Consumption: 



Rec. with Viewfinder only: 4.7 W 
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Rec. with Viewfinder and LCD monitor 5.7 
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Dimensions (W x H x D): 



133 x 180 x 456 mm (5 1/4 x 7 1/8 x 18 inch/I 
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Weight 



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Supplied Accessories 



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NP-F330 InfoUTHIUM Rechargeable Battery Pack 



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From Global to Solo 

SCREENWRITER MYLO CARBIA IS ON HER OWN 
By Alyssa Worsham & Sonya Fatah 




On her twenty-first birth- 
day, Mylo Carbia's first 
play, The Dolly Parton 
Conspiracy, which Carbia 
wrote, directed, and produced, opened 
to a packed house and was awarded the 
Troubadour Theatrical Society's Best 
Play Award for 1992. By twenty-five, the 
New Jersey born and raised Carbia had 
switched paths and was already manag- 
ing a multi-million dollar division of an 
Atlanta-based technology company, 
having turned down the Woodruff 
Foundation Law Scholarship some 
years earlier. And now the thirty-two 
year old has returned not only to writ- 
ing—she has decided to take a gamble 
with producing as well. Dubbed by sev- 
eral industry sources as "one of the 
hottest Latina writers on the 
Hollywood Scene," Carbia has an out- 
standing history of making waves in 
whatever profession she tries, and this 
may well be her boldest move yet. 
In late December 2003, the screen- 



Screenwriter Mylo Carbia recently 
launched her own production company. 



writer announced plans to leave Global 
Screen Partners, taking with her several 
of her scripts, most notably Statute of 
Limitations. Currently in pre-production, 
the psychological thnller is about a col- 
lege girl gang-raped by three frat broth- 
ers and paid to keep quiet. Once the 
statute of limitations expires and the 
girl can no longer press charges, she 
embarks on her own form of justice. 
With a tagline of: "Revenge has no expi- 
ration date," the film has already created 
considerable buzz since Global Pictures, 
who originally bought the script as part 
of a three-picture deal with Carbia, kept 
details about the project tightly locked. 
All this publicity will help Carbia with 
her new endeavor, Zohar Films, an inde- 
pendent production company, which 
for now will house Carbia's projects and 
in the future expand to include others. 
Carbia has named her company after 
her favorite book, The Zohar, which she 
reads while studying Kabbalah, her 
favorite hobby. 

Known for her love of lingerie and 
her overtly sexual persona, Carbia has 
three films tentatively scheduled for 



release in 2004— in addition to Statute 
of Limitations, Enrique Carralero's 
Double Impact (based on his comic 
book series), and Totally Lipstick. 
Double Impact is the seventh best-sell- 
ing comic book series of all time, and 
Carbia describes the basic plot as "two 
hot Latina babes in latex fighting the 
bad guys." She was asked to write the 
script based on the quality of Statute of 
Limitations, an almost unheard of invi- 
tation based on the success of one pre- 
vious script alone. Totally Lipstick, 
another original by Carbia, is slated 
for release during Christmas 2004. A 
music-driven comedy, the film 
involves four down-and-out South 
Beach drag queens saved from a mob 
beating by a rowdy tomboy. After tak- 
ing her into their home, the queens 
discover that the girl can sing, and 
they decide to transform her into a 
diva to save their unsuccessful show. 

When asked about the unprecedent- 
ed nature of her success, Carbia's inher- 
ent business sense stands out. After 
writing the story for a screenplay on a 
legal pad, she designs posters, taglines, 
and possible marketing campaigns to 
see if the script might be viable in the 
Hollywood market. Only if she sees a 
market for the story will she then draft 
the script. In addition to penning her 
own work, Carbia also has a reputation 
for being an extraordinarily fast 
rewriter (she claims to have rewritten a 
messy script in under thirty minutes), 
and she is still accepting freelance pro- 
posals. In between all of these ongoing 
projects, she has begun to research and 
write a historical drama. As for her split 
with the company that gave her a head 
start in yet another successful career, 
there are apparently no hard feelings. 
"Mylo Carbia is a phenomenal screen- 
writer and we always knew that she 
would move on to bigger and better 
things," Global Screen Partners' presi- 
dent Richard Garcia told The Hollywood 
Reporter. "We are extremely grateful for 
all of her hard work and wish her the 
very best with her new endeavor." 

Alyssa Worsham is a freelance writer. 



March 2004 | The Independent 9 



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Tribeca Gets All Access. . . and 
Reopens The Screening Room 

The Tribeca Film Institute and its 
founding organizers— Robert De Niro, 
Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff— 
have announced the launch of 
"Tribeca All Access," a new program 
aimed at matching up minority film- 
makers and their projects with pro- 
ducers and film investors. The Tribeca 
Film Institute, a fledgling nonprofit 
established in January 2002 as a 
September 11th public charity, has 
also recently acquired the legendary 
Screening Room at 54 Varick Street in 
Manhattan— which shut down last 
fall. The new owners will reopen it as 
Tribeca Cinemas. 

"Tribeca All Access," which will 
match funding agents with twenty fic- 
tion and documentary directors who 
have submitted work by the mid- 
February deadline, welcomes work 
from filmmakers of Latino, African 
American, Asian American, Native 
American, and Pacific Islander decent. 
Like the Independent Feature 
Project's "No Borders" program 
(which is more producer-driven and is 
not exclusively race-based), "Tribeca 
All Access" seeks to broaden the cul- 
tural and ethnic landscape of the inde- 
pendent film community. 

The new program also bodes well for 
the Tribeca Film Festival, which has 
been criticized by many Tribeca resi- 
dents and members of the independent 
film community as being more of a star- 
studded corporate affair meant to suck 
in tourism dollars for lower Manhattan 
than a real venue for independent film- 
makers. According to Nancy Shaeffer, 
Managing Director of the Tribeca Film 
Institute, Tribeca All Access is designed 
to demonstrate an effort that goes 
beyond general outreach, and a once-a- 
year event mentality. "We're starting to 
look for programs we can implement 
year-round," she explains. "We feel that 
there is a need for it." 

The Tribeca Film Festival crew hopes 
that the Screening Room will help ful- 
fill the growing demands of the Fest, 



opening its third year this May, for 
which films have been screened at the 
seventy-seat Tribeca Film Center. The 
Screening Room has three viewing 
rooms, the largest of which can seat 130 
people. When not in use for festival 
screenings, the Screening Room will 
continue to serve as a quintessential 
New York spot, and in the future, as 
host to educational and cultural events. 
-Sonya Fatah 

New DVD/VHS Labels 

Filmmakers Alliance (FA), the LA based 
filmmakers' collective, and Cinema 
Libre Studio, an entertainment produc- 
tion and distribution studio for inde- 
pendent filmmaking, have partnered in 
the unveiling of a new DVD/VHS label 
geared toward the production and dis- 
tribution of exclusively independent 
films. The Filmmakers Alliance 
Collection (FAC) will issue its first five 
releases into the home-entertainment 
market this month, with titles that 
include Erik Moe and Peter Rudy's high 
school hockey saga, No Sleep Till Dawn, 
Jacques Thelemaque's redemption- 
through-pet-care story, The Dogwalker 
(Thelemaque's short Infidelity screened 
at Sundance in January), and America So 
Beautiful, a film by Babak Shokrian that 
takes a close look at Iranians living in 
LA during the 1979 hostage crisis. 

The start-up label joins a host of 
other new DVD labels, such as 
Microcinema International's Blackchair 
Label. "We began as, and continue to be, 
exhibitors," says Joel Bachar, founder of 
the nine-year-old Microcinema, who 
started his career as a filmmaker. "We 
see this step as an additional economi- 
cal outlet for these films." Microcinema 
International, which Bachar describes 
as a kind of "label of labels," also dis- 
tributes the work of other labels, citing 
as inspiration the ultra hip record label 
Sub Pop, which after nurturing the 
grunge movement has become a world- 
renowned name brand. 

Also relative!}' new to the scene is 
Film Movement (subtitled "A 
Declaration of Independents" on its 



website), which releases independent 
films through a DVD subscribers club. 
The company, which operates out of 
New York, and was founded by the pro- 
ducers of Sling Blade and You Can Count 
on Me, offers its members an annual 
$189 subscription fee (or $19.95 per 
film monthly) to receive twelve small, 
award-winning, independently pro- 
duced, first-run films. 

As for FAC, Beth Portello, head of 
marketing for Cinema Libre Studio, 
says that the label is about creating 
new opportunities and "getting inde- 
pendent filmmakers [and their films] 
out to consumers through a great 
grassroots organization," thereby, 
"really empowering filmmakers who 
realize their dreams." FAC also gives 
independent filmmakers control over 
the final edit of their film, which if 
distributed through more conven- 
tional channels, would be compro- 
mised by producers and executive pro- 
ducers. Locale is important too, says 
Adam Chanick, head of distribution 
at Cinema Libre. "Because we're in 
Hollywood," he explains, "we're tak- 
ing in the finest from Hollywood who 
are not interested in Hollywood." 

FAC distribution is targeted to 
national and regional video chains, 
rental outlets, and independent video 
stores in DVD and VHS format. 
Additionally, each DVD features a 
five-minute episode from the FAC 
Five Minute Film School, which offers 
production tips for established and 
aspiring low-budget filmmakers, 
as well as short actor and director 
interviews, film commentaries, and 
behind-the-scenes footage. D 

Sonya Fatah is an editorial intern at 
The Independent. 

Filmmakers Alliance: 
www.filmmakersalliance.com 

Cinema Libre Studio: 
www.cinemalibrestudio.com 

Film Movement 
www.filmmovement.com 

Microcinema International: 
www.microcinema.com 



March 2004 | The Independent 1 1 



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Casting Call 

AVY KAUFMAN DIRECTS THE SHOW 
By Austin Bunn 



Casting, says Avy Kaufman, 
is about controlling your 
attention. "If you're 
noticing people in the 
background, that's a problem," she 
explains. "And if there are too many 
famous people in the frame, that's dis- 
tracting too— it can be hard to get past 
the name to find the character." In her 
thirteen years as a casting direc- 
tor, working on over three dozen 
indies {Dogville, Dancer in the 
Dark, In America) and major stu- 
dio releases (A.I., Hulk), the New 
York-based Kaufman has deftly 
negotiated the divide between 
auteur idiosyncrasy and the 
pressure to crowd the screen 
with "names." But she shrugs 
off the assumption that there's a 
difference between the two. 
"The only difference is the peo- 
ple I deal with," she says. "I treat 
the movies the same. Your job is 
to intuit the director's vision. 
And that comes from a place 
that you can't learn." 

With the proliferation of 
Miramax-style "future casting" 
and television networks anoint- 
ing their own celebrities (think 
the WB or Fox), the pool of 
available (and marketable) new 
talent has no doubt expanded. But 
new "celebrities," from Paris Hilton 
on down (or should we say up?), does- 
n't necessarily mean more cast-able 
actors. Winning over international 
distributors, critical for small-scale 
films, means aiming for bankable 
actors with the highest international 
profile possible. Young phenoms like 
Colin Farrell or Mandy Moore, seem- 

Casting director Avy Kaufman. 



ingly everywhere in American media, 
might still be mysteries to the rest of 
the planet. "Is it more important to 
put famous people in a movie now? I 
think it's always been that way," says 
Kaufman. "At the same time, movie 
stars become movie stars for a reason. 
They're that good." Plus, a poorly- 
received film often reflects more on 




the actors than the director. So, no 
matter what background actors have, 
"be it television or film," says 
Kaufman, "it's all hard to break into. 
We need to recognize them no matter 
what media they come from." 

Kaufman, who matched Jude Law 
and Jim Carrey in the upcoming 
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate 
Events, and landed Nicole Kidman in 
both The Human Stain and the 2004 
thriller Birth, started out in advertis- 
ing. She worked for a big New York 



advertising firm until her frustration 
with the casting process for ads sent 
her off on her own. "I would bring in 
these actors that I just loved and they 
wouldn't get the job because of what I 
knew in my heart were silly reasons," 
she says. "I always went to the theater 
and to movies and I said, 'Let me see if 
I can switch.'" 

The transition, she says, "was hell." 
Casting directors claimed a back- 
ground in advertising was a liability. 
"I'd knock on doors and people would 
say, 'No, if you did advertising, you 
don't know anything about film . . . '" 
Kaufman credits John Sayles with her 
first break, casting extras for his 
West Virginia coal-town epic 
Matewan in 1987. That was fol- 
lowed by Ed Zwick's Glory in 
1989. "There is such an art to 
extras casting," says Kaufman. 
"It's like production design— the 
people should feel real inside a 
director's vision of the world." 
At the same time, extras need to 
know their place as believable 
wallpaper— not stars in the mak- 
ing. "Nobody should look at the 
camera," she says, "and they 
should do whatever they're sup- 
posed to be doing and not wish 
they were doing something else." 
Kaufman takes projects based 
on the source material: script 
and director. "If the director has- 
n't done anything, then it's the 
script and a meeting with the 
director that makes the differ- 
ence," she says. It's Kaufman's 
knack for early discoveries that shot 
her to the top. "When I first read Jim 
Carroll's The Basketball Diaries," she 
says, "the only person I thought of was 
Leonardo DiCaprio, and he wasn't 
famous yet." At that point, the young 
star had done This Boy's Life, What's 
Eating Gilbert Grape, and Critters 3: You 
Are What They Eat, but hadn't carried a 
film on his shoulders. Next, she fought 
for Tobey Maguire, who had then done 
only a smattering of television and bit 
parts, for Ang Lee's The Ice Storm. That 



March 2004 | The Independent 13 



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film, with its ensemble cast and hand- 
ful of indelible supporting characters, 
gave Kaufman a chance to launch 
more than one career. 

"Basically, I flew into L.A. for an Ice 
Storm casting session the same day as 
this girl Katie Holmes, who was com- 
ing in from Ohio," recalls Kaufman. 
"Literally, she had never done anv- 



'Wow, I didn't even think they were 
capable of that.' That's not intuition. 
That's just staying awake." Often, 
though, she's shocked awake during 
casting sessions— and not always in 
the positive sense. Particularly when 
it comes to kids eager to break into 
the business. "I was working on this 
film, trying to cast some kids, but the 



"It's so funny to me," says Kaufman. 
"When I see the credits roll, I'm always 
surprised when I see a man's name. I think, 
'Oh my gosh-a gentleman did that?'" 



thing. I don't even think she had a 
real agent— it was like a friend of 
someone's manager who asked me to 
read her as a favor. She came in, I gave 
her pages to read, and an hour later 
she read with Ang. We didn't even see 
anybody else for the role. She got the 
part that day." 

Compared to directing or cine- 
matography, casting may be the one 
bastion of female talent in the film 
business. "It's so funny to me," says 
Kaufman. "When I see the credits 
roll, I'm always surprised when I see a 
man's name. I think, 'Oh my gosh— a 
gentleman did that?'" The over- 
whelming presence of women in cast- 
ing mav have less to do with the work 
itself— auditioning hundreds for a 
specific role— and more to do with 
the films getting made. Since the 
majority of films feature male leads, 
working as a casting director means 
that you're often interviewing and 
judging men, a role men could find 
uncomfortable. 

Kaufman says she operates mostly 
from "intuition" when it comes to 
choosing actors for specific parts, 
but that intuition isn't enough. "You 
really have to be open to the changes 
an actor will make over time," she 
says. "I may think that I've nailed an 
actor in my head, and then I see them 
doing something new and I'll say, 



script had lots of language that really 
wasn't for kids ears," she says. "We 
changed the dialogue a bit, except 
that one script had the old language. 
So I ended up hearing this kid say, 
"We fucked each other's brains out.' I 
felt sorry for him." 

Despite working at the highest level 
of studio productions, Kaufman 
makes sure her casts bring something 
unexpected: Haley Joel Osment in The 
Sixth Sense, Eric Bana in The Hulk, or 
Nicole Kidman in Lars Von Trier's 
Doginlle. ("I thought it was so brave of 
her to star in Dogville" she says. "It's 
not like everybody will flock to see this 
movie, but it's amazing. Lars just had 
such a strong vision.") At a time when 
name actors are increasingly resistant 
to auditioning for parts, Kaufman still 
does it. Interviews and auditions are 
the main element of her job. In an 
aspect of industry that traffics in per- 
sonalities, Kaufman approaches her 
work with humility. "Everybody wants 
to be recognized for their work," she 
says. "But in casting, you can't do it for 
that. You have to step back and realize 
that you are casting one person at a 
time to make the perfect film. They are 
one piece in a giant puzzle." D 

Austin Bunn is a New York based 
uriter and frequent contributor to 

The Now York Times Ma^a/me. 



14 The Independent | March 2004 



profile 



Michelle Montas 

FRAMING POLITICAL AND PERSONAL REVENGE 
By Theresa Smolen 



Tall, elegant, and poised, 
Michelle Montas defines 
herself first as a journalist, 
second as a woman, and 
third as a militant for change. But the 
native Haitian says her life cannot be 
described as happy because of the hole 
left by the recent personal and profes- 
sional loss that has changed her life's 
meaning. She is unable to safely func- 
tion as a journalist in her country. She 
is a woman robbed of her soulmate. 
She is seeking justice. 

Her story is intertwined with that 
of a lanky, tobacco pipe-smoking 
man, Jean Dominique, whose life is 
portrayed in a new film by Jonathan 
Demme, The Agronomist, which pre- 
miered at the Venice International 
Film Festival in September 2003. 

The film started out, Montas says, 
much like a sentimental home movie 
about her husband as a journalist in 
exile returning to his home country. 
But his triumphant return in 1994, 
meant to serve as the film's dramatic 
conclusion, was never captured, 
because Dominique went straight to 
work rebuilding his radio station, 
Radio Haiti Inter, and the film project 
was shelved. Six years later, on the 
morning of April 3, 2000, Jean 
Dominique was assassinated as he was 
entering Radio Haiti Inter. Work on 
the film soon recommenced, with the 
story now having shifted from a 
straight biography to more of a trib- 
ute to Dominique's life in the context 
of Haiti's struggle for democracy. "It's 
a film that celebrates the life of a 
great, great human being— two great 
human beings because now it's a por- 
trait of Michelle," says Demme. 



Michelle Montas and Jean Dominique 
in The Agronomist. 



Montas, who grew up in Port-au- 
Prince and Petion-Ville, Haiti, studied 
journalism and politics at the 
University of Maine and the Columbia 
Graduate School of Journalism. She 
fled to Maine at the age of seventeen 
after supporters of Haitian dictator 
"Papa Doc" Duvalier killed her aunt 
and five cousins in the mid-1960s. Her 



mately brought her to Radio Haiti 
Inter, and to Jean Dominique. 

Together, in the early 1970s, 
Dominique and Montas began to air 
the first news broadcasts in Creole, the 
language of the majority of Haitians. 
Because Haitian radio at the time was 
primarily for the purposes of entertain- 
ment, this was a major development 
and also, as Dominique described it in 
the film, "risky business." 

"We were doing investigative 
reporting and started realizing how 
dangerous it was. Advertisers pulled 
all of their advertising from the sta- 
tion overnight on request from the 




brother lived in Maine at the time, and 
she had been accepted to college there 
prior to leaving Haiti. Upon complet- 
ing her graduate studies, she returned 
to Haiti to begin a career in journal- 
ism. "My parents were very much 
against it," Montas says of her deci- 
sion to become a journalist. "In a 
country run by a dictatorship, it was 
unthinkable that I would pick that 
type of profession." But she persisted, 
and soon decided that radio was the 
medium in which to best utilize her 
skills and combine her passion for 
politics and media. This decision ulti- 



government," Montas explains. In 
1980, the political police arrested 
Montas and the radio staff and took 
them to jail. "Luckily Jean was not 
there, because they had orders to kill 
him," Montas says. She spent six days 
in jail before being released. "I was 
taken straight to a plane bound for 
Miami with just the clothes on my 
back," she says. From there, she trav- 
eled to New York. Dominique, who 
had taken refuge at the Venezuelan 
Embassy in Port au Prince, later 
joined her there. "We did our best to 
adapt," said Montas of that first five- 



March 2004 | The Independent 15 



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75 W.Union, Rm 407 
Athens, Ohio 45701 



war exile. "We went to movies; it was 
our passion beyond the struggle." 

It was during their second exile in 
New York, after a military coup in 
Haiti in 1991, with Montas working 
at the United Nations as a public 
information officer and radio pro- 
ducer, and Dominique giving lec- 



her until she reopened the radio sta- 
tion a month later on May 3, 2000, 
World Press Freedom Day. In the 
film's dedication, Demme cites his 
overwhelming appreciation of 
Montas: "Thanks to Michelle Montas 
for her trust, support, and participa- 
tion without which the film could not 



Before her husband was killed, 
she usually rode into work with him, 
although by chance, and perhaps fate, did 
not choose to on the day he was shot. 



tures on cinema, that they connected 
with the filmmaker Jonathan 
Demme. Montas says that Demme 
and her husband had met previously 
in Haiti, but became close friends 
during the period they worked on the 
movie project. "It was art and culture 
that brought them together— beyond 
politics," explains Montas of the 
friendship between the two men. "It 
was a very personal vision, but so 
many things brought Jean and 
Jonathan close [such as] their love of 
Haiti and the fight for democratic 
principles." 

The periods of exile also brought 
she and Dominique closer to each 
other, Montas says, because they had 
nothing but each other. Montas says 
for her it was the deepest she and Jean 
loved, and she believes it was the same 
for Jean. When they returned to Haiti 
m 1994, their ability to function as 
journalists was dependent upon the 
success of the first democratically 
elected President, Jean Bertrand 
Aristide. But the situation in Haiti 
onlv worsened, and Dominique's crit- 
icism of government corruption grew 
increasingly relentless until the day 
he was gunned down in front of 
Radio Haiti Inter. 

When Dominique was killed, 
Montas says that Demme was one of 
the first people to call her, and had 
then flown to Haiti and staved with 



have been made." 

Montas herself has escaped possible 
death twice. Before her husband was 
killed, she usually rode into work with 
him, although by chance, and perhaps 
fate, did not choose to on the day he 
was shot. Two years later, an assassi- 
nation attempt on her life killed her 
bodyguard instead. This and ongoing 
threats against the radio station staff 
compelled her to leave Haiti and seek 
justice from afar. 

Montas, now back in New York 
serving as spokeswoman for the pres- 
ident of the United Nations General 
Assembly, believes Demme's film will 
make a difference. She has traveled to 
several screenings, where she contin- 
ues to speak with strength and con- 
viction about determining who was 
behind her husband's assassination. 
The void that his death left cannot be 
filled, but one day, Montas main- 
tains, she will return to Haiti to pick 
up where she and Dominique left off 
at the radio station. Because as it is 
now, "I'm not doing the job I wanted 
to be doing." D 



ThinkFilm is distributing The Agronomist 
and is planning an April 2004 limited 
theatrical release. 



Theresa Smolen is a freelance writer 
in Albany, Neu- York. 



16 The Independent | March 2004 



doc doctor 



Ask the 
Documentary Doctor 



By Fernanda Rossi 




Dear Doc Doctor: 

My career as a documentary film- 
maker is about to take off— at the 
same time, my biological clock is 
ticking away. Should I follow nature's 
urge and ultimately risk the possibil- 
ity of not being able to reenter the 
film industry? 

When the career countdown and the 
biological clock are ticking simultane- 
ously, I suggest you try to synchronize 
them so that they tick in harmony. 
Sure, easier said than done. I won't 
underplay the challenges of becoming 
a mother in this culture. The irony, of 
course, is that those challenges are 
mainly imposed by society as opposed 
to being an intrinsic consequence of 
motherhood. 

Ever wonder why there is bicycle 
parking everywhere and no stroller 
parking anywhere? Why there aren't 
soundproof booths in the back of 
every movie theater? Or diaper dis- 
pensers in every public bathroom? 
Or film grants for moms? The 
notion of catering to a culture of 
motherhood in America may sound 
farfetched, but in other parts of the 
world it's not that farfetched at all. 
In Bolivia, for example, women are 
the main breadwinners; they work 
the fields with their babies wrapped 
around their backs. As do women in 
many parts of Africa. In all of Asia, 
children are part of the family busi- 
ness during after-school hours, and 
extended family lives nearby often to 



help as well. As you can see, in many 
countries work and motherhood for 
women is not an either/or situation. 
But I will assume that those of you 
documentary making mothers-to-be 
are not planning to wait for the 
dawn of a matriarchal society in 
America, nor are you planning on a 
move to Bolivia. 

Bear in mind that the life of a docu- 
mentary filmmaker is more similar to 
the life of a home business owner than 
a corporate worker, in that you have to 
manage your own schedule, your 
goals, and your staff. The first years 
might be more difficult, but thanks to 
the internet you can work on 
fundraising even while you are preg- 
nant, because it generally takes a full 
year to get a documentary off the 
ground anyway. And who knows, 
motherhood can be very creative and 
engaging— you might feel completely 
different about filmmaking after you 
become a mom. 

Kathy Leichter became a mother 
two years ago, and started with dis- 



thanks to the support and addition- 
al income of her husband, Andrew, 
Kathy is able to earn her living by 
working as a freelance grant writer 
and fundraising consultant. Being 
both a mother and a filmmaker has 
meant that Kathy has had to make 
some hard choices, but she knows 
that the career sacrifices are not per- 
manent, and she has even begun to 
integrate stories and themes of 
motherhood into her current film 
projects. 

For further inspiration on the sub- 
ject, check out the book / Love My Life: 
A Mom's Guide to Working from Home, 
by Kristie Tamsevicius (Wyatt- 
Mackensie Publishing, 2003), which 
serves as a helpful primer on the bal- 
ancing of family and career. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

I am a sixty-year-old grandmother 
and aspiring documentary filmmaker. 
Every time I attend a documentary 
workshop, event, or party, I feel like 
everybody is half my age. Am I too 
old to become a successful docu- 
mentary filmmaker? 
It's never too late! I will invite you to 
my next consultation with Justin D. 
Call, an eighty-year-old California- 
based filmmaker and psychiatrist 
working on his first documentary 



Ever wonder why there is bicycle parking 

everywhere and no stroller parking 

anywhere? Why there aren't soundproof 

booths in the back of every movie theater? 

Or diaper dispensers in every public 

bathroom? Or film grants for moms? 



tribution for her film A Day's Work, A 
Day '5 Pay when her son was just a few 
months old. She is currently serving 
as the project director of a commu- 
nity screening initiative while also 
developing two new films. Also 



about how children can overcome 
trauma through play. Or I'll introduce 
you to eighty-one-year-old Benedict 
Yedlin, who became a filmmaker at 
the age of seven tv and is now working 
on his third film 



March 20C4 | The Independent 17 



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The older women that I work with, 
most of whom are either returning 
to or just starting filmmaking, are all 
very youthful in spirit and would 
probably prefer that I not mention 
their real ages anyway. However, 
after a very successful experience 
with her film Daring to Resist, co-pro- 
duced and directed with Barbara 
Attie, senior filmmaker Martha 
Lubell is putting the final touches 
on Queen of the Mountain. With cam- 
era m hand, she wrapped her long 
silver hair in a bun and headed to 
Mali to shoot her first film. The list 
of documentary makers over the age 
of fifty is endless, and those are just 
examples of people I'm acquainted 
with— think of how many potential 
others are out there. 

What's more, documentary film- 
making seems to lend itself to a 
more mature individual. It's no 
coincidence that many film schools 
across the globe require a previous 
degree from their candidates and 
that students be at least twenty- 
three years old. In her 1998 book, 
Work Left Undone, Choices & 
Compromises of Talented Females 
(Creative Learning), Sally Morgan 
Reis devotes an entire chapter to 
"women who achieved eminence 
after the age of fifty-five," and also 
offers a thoughtful analysis of the 
socio-political and economic ramifi- 
cations of this success in later life. 

Aging is a wonderful and enlighten- 
ing process for everyone, but for 
women especially. I leave you with an 
adage from my production designer 
friend, Tema Levine: "We don't go 
gray, we go blonder!" D 

Want to ask the Doc Doctor a question for a 
future issue of The Independent? Write to her 
at info@documentarydoctor.com. 



Fernanda Rossi is a filmmaker and 

script documentary doctor. She also leads the 

bimonthly Documentary Dialogues discussion 

group offered by A/VF. For more info, visit 

uuu.documentarydoctor.com. 



18 The Independent | March 2004 



field report 



New Orleans, 
Louisiana 

SNAPSHOTS OF THE INDIE FILM COMMUNITY 
By Margaret Coble 



Rick Delaup, Filmmaker 

"The great ching about living and 
working in New Orleans is that the 
city is so rich with subject matter, for 
any artist," says Rick Delaup, a native 
of New Orleans who studied film at 
Chicago's Columbia College but 



with his critically-acclaimed docu- 
mentary on French Quarter eccentric 
Ruthie Moulon, Ruthie The Duck Girl 
(1999), and infomercial-style video on 
Ninth Ward musician, inventor and 
hipster icon Mr. Quintron, The Drum 
Buddy Show (2001). His current proj- 




returned to the Crescent City to pro- 
duce documentary videos. "It's a visu- 
ally exciting city. In my opinion, it's a 
documentary filmmaker's dream. We 
have the most amazing characters 
here, and a lot of fascinating stories." 
Delaup has literally made a career 
out of chronicling the city's cast of 
offbeat characters and their equally 
colorful stories. His website, 
EccentricNewOrleans.com, describes 
him as "an independent producer on a 
mission to tell the true, uncensored 
stories of real New Orleans people," 
which he has accomplished artfully 



New Orleans filmmakers Rick and Maria 
Delaup shooting Ruthie the Duck Girl. 



ect, Evangeline the Oyster Girl & Other 
Tales of Burlesque, will tell the stories of 
Bourbon Street exotic dancers from 
the late 1940s through the early '60s. 
"Unfortunately, most of the works 
that reach the largest audiences, via 
television, are made by out-of-towners 
who always want to cover the same 
topics over and over. There is much 
more to New Orleans than Mardi 
Gras, jazz, R&B, food, and French 
Quarter architecture," Delaup says. 

Despite his success, Delaup has a 
reputation for being a bit of a cynic 
when it comes to the New Orleans 
indie film scene. And he's entitled to it 
after riding the ramparts of a not- 
quite-on-the-map film town like New 



Orleans for a decade and a half. Most 
of his criticisms revolve around what 
he perceives as a lack of financial sup- 
port for film and video artists living 
and working in New Orleans from the 
city and state funding agencies. He 
says local filmmakers don't enjoy the 
same level of patronage as their peers 
in other local media (i.e. music and 
visual arts), or get the same kind of 
attention as out-of-town filmmak- 
ers/producers working on local sub- 
ject matter. 

"All the grants [for filmmaking] are 
drying up. The New Orleans Video 
Access Center (NOVAC) [the oldest 
non-profit media arts center in the 
southeastern U.S., which recently 
folded after thirty-two years due to 
lack of funding] has closed their 
doors. There are no decent venues to 
screen works, the local cable access 
station has received lots of criticism— 
for not being supportive— of local pro- 
ducers, and the Louisiana Division of 
the Arts has severely cut funding to 
artists, yet can come up with one mil- 
lion [dollars] for the PBS corporate 
sponsored Ken Burns Jazz series, 
which was criticized by many as gloss- 
ing over New Orleans. And local 
Louisiana filmmakers aren't even 
thrown a bone." 

His is certainly an extreme point of 
view, but one that does put things 
into perspective. "Unfortunately, 
many of the talented filmmakers from 
New Orleans had to move away to 
achieve success. While, for many who 
have remained, you're only good for a 
film or two before you are forced to 
enter the 9-5 workplace. I have not 
thought about leaving New Orleans 
until fairly recently. I guess I'll just see 
how things go." 

For more info on Rick Delaup, see 
www.eccentricneworleans.com 

Zeitgeist: The Little Venue 
That Could 

Rene Broussard, the founder and 
director of New Orleans' long- 



March 2004 | The Independent 19 



running, nonprofit, alternative media 
arts venue Zeitgeist Multi- 
Disciplinary Arts Center, and a film- 
maker himself, sits somewhere in the 
middle of the opinion spectrum when 




it comes to talking about the New 
Orleans independent film scene. 
Though he's seen a lot in his seven- 
teen years with Zeitgeist, he remains 
positive and determined, espousing a 
silver lining to Delaup's dark cloud. 
"I don't know that there's a multi- 



tude of resources for [filmmakers] 
who don't have their own systems, but 
now you can get a system so cheaply: 
editing systems, mini DV cameras, 
with all the money you save by living 
here in New Orleans on rent and util- 
ities, you can easily buy your own sys- 
tem. It's a very affordable place to 
work. And there is a sense of commu- 
nity—many talented interesting artists 
working here in town." 

As far as venues go, while there are 
other bigger and better (read: more 
comfortable, as Zeitgeist is often criti- 
cized for its plastic chairs) options for 
viewing independent cinema in New 
Orleans (first-run art-house theaters 
like the downtown, four-screen, 
Landmark affiliate. Canal Place, and 
the single-screen Prytania Theater), 
none have been more consistently com- 
mitted to showcasing alternative and 
independent media and trying to foster 



a community around it than Zeitgeist. 

Since 1987 Zeitgeist has persevered, 
championing underground, obscure, 
and often controversial film, video, 
music, visual, and performance art in 
a succession of ever-improving loca- 
tions; most notably the much- 
beloved, now-defunct second-run 
drafthouse theater. Movie Pitchers. 
Though now settled in at Barrister's 
Art Gallery in Center City, the all-vol- 
unteer Zeitgeist continues to struggle 
financially, in part due to a commit- 
ment years ago to total independence, 
meaning no reliance on grants or pub- 
lic funds of any kind. 

"We decided we would try to sink or 
swim from our ability to generate 
revenue from our programming, con- 



Zeitgeist founder/director Rene Broussard 
sits inside media artist Patrick Lichty's 
installation Suburban Meditation. 



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cessions, and private donations," 
Broussard says, admitting Zeitgeist 
didn't want to be beholden to the 
moral or aesthetic dictates of arts 
funding agencies. "It's a day to day 
struggle to keep the place open. But 
creatively, we're doing incredible 
things with very little money." 

Zeitgeist's alliance with the nation- 
al DVD-first run film club Film 
Movement is one of those things. Film 
Movement helps create access to out- 
standing independent films that most 
likely will not receive wide release, by 
providing members with the DVD of 
the film in advance of its opening in 
associated theaters— like Zeitgeist. 
"It's like a Book of the Month club for 
independent film," Broussard 
explains. "It's not doing as well as I 



Flicker Underground Film Festival's 
inaugural event in 2002. 



would like, in terms of attendance, 
but that's the same with ninety-nine 
percent of what happens at Zeitgeist. 
After seventeen years in this town I 
still do not know the secret to getting 
an audience. It's so fickle." 

"Is there an indie media 'scene' in 
New Orleans? Yes. Is it cohesive? No. 
Or a 'community' in the real sense of 
the word? We're trying. But I do think 
there is hope on the horizon." 

www.zeitgeistinc.org 

Jeremy Campbell, Ten 18 Films 
& Flicker: Making Things Happen 

Jeremy Campbell is much more opti- 
mistic about the state of affairs in 
New Orleans. "I'd really say New 
Orleans is just thirsty for independent 
film. And there are a lot of people here 
doing experimental films and music 
videos and short interesting narrative 



type work. A lot of it is more on the 
amateur end of things, but it's people 
who really want to be better and are 
working to move in that direction." 

A filmmaker as well, Campbell 
moved to New Orleans about three 
years ago, interested, like Delaup, m 
the eccentric personalities and unique 
spirit of New Orleans. Since then, he 
has produced four critically lauded 
documentaries about New Orleans 
under the Ten 18 Films name, includ- 
ing Second Line Sunday and New Orleans 





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Jazz Funeral. Don 't Worry Honey, I Live 
Here and Sorry Mom, I'm A Drunk are 
boch abouc Mardi Gras from a locals' 
perspective. 

Abouc a year and a half ago, frustrat- 
ed by what he perceived as a lack of 
appropriate venues for local filmmak- 
ers to screen their works, he started a 
New Orleans chapter of the nationwide 
Flicker network, which seeks to pro- 
mote local film shorts while also screen- 
ing works from other chapters. The 
Flicker Underground Film Festival, as 
Campbell bills the quarterly event at 
roving bar and club venues around 
town, functions as a distribution sys- 
tem that helps underground filmmak- 
ers gain a wider audience, while provid- 
ing the local film-watching community 
with an alternative atmosphere to view 
the often cutting-edge material— which 
has been a big hit in a party town like 
New Orleans. 

"The first time I would have been 
happy if three dozen people showed 
up. Now we're on our sixth show and 
every time we've had 200-plus people, 
so I've been thrilled with the 
response," Campbell says. "It may be 
an optimistic point of view, but, 
there's so much artistic talent in this 
city, it should be a film hub as much 
as it is a music hub and visual art hub. 
I guess it depends on what you want 
to achieve here, as a filmmaker. If 
you're interested in getting a job on a 
big budget film and being part of a 
narrative Hollywood feature, then 
that's more difficult. But New Orleans 
is wide open if you are prepared to 
make your own way, finance your own 
film, basically self-produce. Then it is 
a good place to be. And I see a lot of 
potential in the city right now." D 

www.tenl 8. org 



Margaret Coble is a New Orleans based 

freelance writer, DJ, and film enthusiast. She 

serves on the selection committee for Reel 

Identities: The Sen Orleans Lesbian. Gay, 

Bisexual, and Transgendered Film Festival, and 

is the Assistant Coordinator for the M 
Women 's Music Festival's annu.il Film Festival 



22 The Independent | March 2004 



f under faq 



Deutsch/ 
Open City Films 

Jason Guerrasio interviews 
Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot 



Since founding Open City 
Films in 1994, producers 
Joana Vicente and Jason 
Kliot have earned a repu- 
tation for making unique and popular 
films that would probably not have 
received financing elsewhere. Whether 
they sold the film to a studio— like 
Down to You (Miramax)— or produced 
a gritty independent— like Chuck and 
Buck through their subsidiary, Blow 
Up Pictures— they've always found a 
way to get the film made with what lit- 
tle they have. Recently, Vicente and 
Kliot got the additional resources they 
needed to expand their company and 
greenlight more films. 

Explain the changes that have 
happened to the company? 

Kliot: Up until September 2003 we 
had Open City Films and our digital 
company, Blow Up Pictures. It's now 
called Deutsch/Open City Films and 
HDNetFilms. Donny Deutsch is now 
our partner, which means we have 
someone with very deep resources 
who supports us in developing mate- 
rial. We have money to pay writers, 
and to option novels or plays or mag- 
azine articles, and take those and 
develop them with other financing 
partners. These are films that are 
going to be $5-10 million or higher. 

Vicente: The one thing that's exciting 
about the partnership with Donny 
Deutsch is that now we have the 
resources to get those films to a better 
level before we go to any financing 



This page: Gza, Rza, and Bill Murray in 
Coffee and Cigarettes, produced by 
Deutsch/Open City Films. Following 
page: Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot. 



sources. If you go to a studio with a 
project and they think it still needs 
work, you end up in what filmmakers 
commonly call "development hell." 
That's the gap that we're filling. We 



Up Pictures. Blow Up Pictures was the 
first digital production company to 
make theatrical films in this country. 
Some of them are Chuck and Buck, Lovely 
& Amazing, Series 7, and Love in the Time of 
Money. Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner 
saw what we did with Blow Up, came to 
us and said, "We're starting a high-defi- 
nition film company; we want to make 
pictures up to $2 million; we have all the 
money we want to make these movies; 
do you guys want to find those movies 
and put them into production?" So we 
have the ability to greenlight as many 




want to go to studios with finished 
scripts, scripts that are completely 
ready to go. Then we can drive a harder 
bargain with the studios or the equity 
sources that we're going to. We can say, 
"This movie is ready to go. We'll work 
with you, but within a few months we 
want you to be casting, and/or in pre- 
production on the film. And if you're 
not doing that, we want the movie back 
and we don't want any turnaround 
costs on it." We want to help directors 
and writers leapfrog that whole "devel- 
opment hell" cunundrum. 

Talk a little about HDNetFilms. 

Kliot: In 1998 Joana and I founded Blow 



movies as we want to in a year up to the 
$2 million level. That's what we're doing 
with HDNetFilms, making movies that 
we can bring to festivals and have them 
sold to distributors, the way we did with 
Blow Up. 

What types of projects do you seek? 

Kliot: We're going to focus on films 
we've always made: ground breaking, 
innovative, very director-driven inde- 
pendent films that are for theatrical 
distribution. 

Do you attend festivals? If so, why 
and which ones? 

Kliot: At Sundance this year we [went] 



March 2004 | The Independent 23 



looking for talent. We're looking for 
filmmakers who are established and 
want to develop films with us. That 




could be someone who's fed up with 
the studio system and wants to make 
a low budget film. It also could be a 
kid who's made an ingenious short 
that we really love and whose first fea- 
ture we want to make. We go to 
Sundance, Toronto. Rotterdam, and 
Cannes. We'll be at a tew regional fests 
too, but it all comes down to what our 
schedules permit. 

How do you prefer filmmakers to 

approach you? 

Kliot: I like filmmakers to email us a 

synopsis of their project. That's the 

best way to get to us: oc@opencity- 

films.com. 

What's the most common mistake 
a filmmaker makes when they 
approach you? 

Kliot: Thinking that it's very important 
for them to make contact with me, to 
know who I am, to get my card or my 
address. It doesn't matter if I have met 
them. It'll have no bearing whatsoever 
on my reading their script or not. 

Vicente: The real problem that occurs 
is people send us scripts that we 
would never make in our lives. We 
don't make slasher movies. 

Kliot: You should know your basics. 
But sometimes I see people overshoot 
and focus so much on the industrv 
and the connections. You'd be amazed 
how few good filmmakers know how 
to shmooze. I reallv don't believe this 



business is about shmoozing. You 
should do your basic homework, you 
should know who you're going to so 
you're going to the appropriate people 
for your project. But don't let that 
eclipse the fact that you should be 
focusing on the project and making 
sure that if you expose your film to 
anybody, that it be in the best possible 
condition it can be in. 

So filmmakers shouldn't have a keen 
eye on the business? 

Kliot: It's important, but Joana and I 
are really content driven. We're really 
about the material. So I always say to 
filmmakers, don't focus so much on 
the business. Find someone in the 
industry who knows who the players 
are and ask their advice about who you 
should go to with your project. The 
real energy should be placed into writ- 
ing an extraordinary project or finding 
that perfect project. Because if you have 
a really great script I know a lot of peo- 
ple who want to make that movie. 

What types of projects are you work- 
ing on now? 

Vicente: We can't say what they are but 
right now we have three films we're 
about to make. There's a documentary, 
a corned}', and a very, very serious polit- 
ical film. 

What's the biggest sacrifice you have to 
make when dealing with a big studio? 
Kliot: I think the biggest sacrifice you 
make is getting your vision watered 
down. By nature, film studios, inde- 
pendent or major, are corporations 
that rely on a number of people work- 
ing together to guarantee that the 
product they're making is acceptable 
to the corporation. Its very nature. I 
believe, eliminates some of the ele- 
ments that can make projects unique. 

Where are we in the digital revolution? 
Vicente: The digital revolution has just 
begun. The freedom that digital pro- 
duction allows to independent film- 
makers is a remarkable thing and it's 



what's going to break open the inde- 
pendent barriers. 

Kliot: What's exciting with high-defini- 
tion films is we can make the exact 
same quality product that any of the 
big studios are making for a fraction of 
what the\' make it for. I think that the 
significance of that huge transforma- 
tion in technology is only beginning to 
be acknowledged. D 

Jason Guerrasw is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 



Deutsch/Open City Films 

145 Avenue of Americas 

7th floor 

New York, NY 10013 

Tel: 212-255-0500 

Fax: 212-255-0455 

e-mail: oc@opencityfilms.com 

Staff: 

Jason Kliot 
President/Co-Founder 

Joana Vicente, 
Preside n t/Co -Foun der 

Tory Tunnell, 

Head of Development, 

Deutsch/Open City Films 

Will Battersby 

Head of Development, 

HDNetFilms 

Jeff Fierson, 

Assistant to Kliot and Vicente 

The Slate: 

Three Seasons, dir. Tony Bui, 
1999 

Down to You, dir. Kris Isacsson, 
2000 

The Assassination of Richard 
Nixon, dir. Niels Mueller, 2004 

Coffee and Cigarettes, dir. Jim 
Jarmusch, 2004 

Blow Up Pictures: 

Chuck & Buck, dir. Miguel Arteta, 
2000 

Series 7: The Contenders, 
dir. Daniel Minahan, 2001 

Lovely & Amazing, 

dir. Nicole Holofcener, 2002 



24 The Independent | March 2004 



festival circuit 



Beer at Sundance 

WHAT DOES A PRODUCERS' REP REALLY DO? 
By Bo Mehrad 



Ti he subject of producers' reps— 
who they are and what they do— 
is one that a lot of us find con- 
fusing. And yet, most films that secure 
distribution during festivals, especially 
in recent years, have done so through 
the help of a producers' rep. 

I decided it would be both useful and 
important as a filmmaker to learn 
exactly what it is that a producer's rep 
does. The following is an account of the 
day I spent at the 2004 Sundance Film 
Festival with Steven Beer— who has 
served as legal counsel or a producers' 
rep for films ranging from lesser- 
known independents like Sick: The Life 
& Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist 
to the Academy Award-nominated 
Tumble-weeds. Until recently Beer was a 
co-founding partner in his own firm, 
Rudolph & Beer. In 2003, Beer dis- 
solved his firm and teamed with 
Greenberg Traurig, one of the country's 
largest law firms with multiple offices 
across the US and Europe. He is presi- 
dent of the Executive Board and a mem- 
ber of the National Board of the 
Independent Feature Project (IFP). 

Mid December, 2003 
New York City 

Following the announcement of 
Sundance's 2004 line-up, I arranged a 
pre-interview with Steven Beer at 
Greenberg Traurig's midtown offices 
in order to get a feel for what his plans 
are for the festival. He has brought in 
a team that includes former IFP/New 
York programmer Mindy Bond to 
help contact filmmakers and to select 
a roster of films for representation. 
During that preliminary meeting, I 
asked him about the purpose and 



Imelda is one of the films repped by 
Steven Beer at Sundance. 



necessity of a producers' rep 
into a festival like Sundance. 



would let me accomplish all my goals, 
which is to give every project the maxi- 
mum attention." 

January 16, 2004 
Park City, Utah 

It's 8:30 a.m. on the first day of the 2004 
Sundance Film Festival and Main 
Street is uncharacteristically quiet. I 




"It's a complicated and specialized 
market," Beer explained. "And if you 
haven't done it before it would be like 
driving cross country without a 
roadmap." 

He continued, "I think that there 
needs to be people to brainstorm with 
and deliberate and that's why having a 
rep— who could be an agent, could be a 
lawyer— is important. Someone who's 
done this before many times over and 
who's going to appreciate how events 
may or may not unfold." 

When I asked him about the number 
of films he would be representing, he 
said that compared to fellow producers' 
reps and attorneys, the number of films 
he planned to take on was small. "No 
more than a handful. That's different 
than some of my colleagues who believe 
a mass-market approach is appropriate. 
On a personal level, I don't think more 
than a handful would be something 
that's respectful to the filmmakers and 



buy a cup of coffee and make my way to 
the top of the street to Beer's condo, 
where Beer's assistant while at 
Sundance, Eric, streets me at the door. 
Eric motions me in as he continues to 
talk on his cell phone about various Fed 
Ex packages that have or have not 
arrived, before then disappearing into 
the kitchen. I stand in the front room of 
the condo, which is relatively modest, if 
perhaps more polished than the average 
Park City rental. 

After a while, Beer makes his 
entrance, wasting little time in telling 
me that I'm ten minutes earl}'. 

The day starts with a meeting 
between Beer and his team, which con- 
sists of Eric, an assistant attorney, two 
interns, Arthur Chang, COO of 
Greenberg Traurig Advisory, and anoth- 
er Greenberg attorney, Man- Miles. As it 
turns out, the films that Beer is repping 
(Imelda, Let the Church Say Amen, 
Fanningi'ille, and Persons of Interest) will 



March 2004 | The Independent 25 




Atlanta 

Auckland 

Austin 
I Berlin 

Boston 
?— H Chicago 
Cd Cincinnati 

Copenhagen 

Dublin 

London 

Los Angeles 
Cd; Nashville 

New York 

Philadelphia 
(]} Portland 

Saint Louis 

San Francisco 

Washington. DC 

For complete details visit: 

www.48HourFilm.com 



This month at SXSW, 
The Best of 2003! 



Every second counts when you only 
have 48 hours to make a film! 



not be screening until a few days into 
the festival, so Beer instructs his team 
on what needs to be done for the day 
ahead, which includes the need to 
"make contact" with acquisitions execu- 
tives from various distribution compa- 
nies. 

At 10 a.m.. we all head down to 
"Schmooze Fest"— a free coffee and 
bagels affair given daily by the New 
York State Governor's Office for 
Motion Picture and Television, and co- 
sponsored by Greenberg Traurig. 

Later Beer meets with filmmakers. 
With Fanninn'illes Catherine Tabini and 
Carlos Sandoval, the discussion turns to 
early interest from buyers after an 
appearance the filmmakers made the 
night before on CNN's Lou Dobbs Show. 
Beer suggests that they hold off on talk- 
ing to buyers until after 
their first official screening 
on Sundav. Next. Beer 
meets with the filmmakers 
of Let the Church Say Amen, 
who are concerned about 
their screening. Their issues 
seem to have little to do 
with selling, which is osten- 
sibly what Beer is there to 
help with. But Beer handles 
their concerns with a calm 
demeanor and offers what is clearlv a 
necessary reality check on a situation. 

In between clients. I asked Beer about 
this interaction and whether he sees 
mediation as part of his job. "Well, 
that's not what I signed up for. But 
that's a big part of this business to be 
accommodating and flexible in rela- 
tionships [that are made here]," he says. 
"It's part of the fun. Everydav is an 
adventure at Sundance." 

Around 3 p.m.. Beer meets with 
Imelda director Ramona Diaz about the 
realitv of her doc being picked up for 
theatrical distribution. Beer gives her an 
honest appraisal of the situation: For 
most docs, wide theatrical distribution 
is not a reality, but that a very healthy 
life exists for docs in public TV and the 
educational marker. As he goes into 
detail. I realize that what strikes me the 



most about Beer is his consistent ability 
to put his clients at ease. 

After a long day, we regroup at the 
condo for the first of three cocktail par- 
ties Greenberg will host throughout the 
duration of Sundance. I lose sight of 
Beer shortly after the condo begins to 
reach its maximum capacity, although I 
do notice different filmmakers that I've 
met throughout the day. Business cards 
fly. Matt Dillon makes an appearance. 

January 25, 2004 
Brooklyn, NY 

Back at home I learn Farmingville has 
won the Documentary Jury's Special 
Jury award and that the doc cinematog- 
raph}- award went to Imelda. 

I think back to my original goal of 
learning the exact role of a producers' 





rep. and I realize the role and subject 
still remain elusive. Obviously, it 
involves the sale of a film. But maybe 
it's not important to know the exact 
role of a producers' rep; maybe this is an 
integral aspect of the indie film world's 
natural order— filmmakers know film- 
making and reps know about repping. 
None of the films Beer represented at 
Sundance sold during the festival, but 
Beer, in what I now recognize as a call- 
ing card of steadfast composure, did 
not seem worried. "I'm realistic about 
the process. [Sundance] is a presenta- 
tion opportunity but a lot of the busi- 
ness happens after." D 

Bo Mehrad is a New York based writer and 

director. He also edits the Festival Listings section 

ofThe Independent and works as an 

Information Services .Associate for AIYF. 



26 The Independent | March 2004 



festival circuit 



Slamdance 

A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE 
By Susan Diane Freel 



n January 1995, filmmakers 
united under the banner of 
rejection from the Sundance 
I Film Festival and came together 
in Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah 
to do the previously unthinkable. 
Raising a fist in the shadow of 
Sundance, they called themselves 
"Anarchy in Utah: The Slamdance Film 
Festival," and not only did they pro- 
ceed to screen their rejected films, they 
screened them within spit- 
ting distance of Sundance 
venues. Slamdance has since 
become number nine in the 
list of top ten film festivals 
worldwide, according to The 
Ultimate Film Festival Survival 
Guide, and has just celebrat- 
ed its tenth year. 

"That first year was pretty 
organized, but we were really 
renegades," says festival co- 
founder and filmmaker Paul 
Rachman. "We came up ini- 
tially to have the whole festi- 
val at the University of Utah 
in Salt Lake City, and we had 
one day of screenings. [But when] one 
of our [16mm] filmmakers, Liz Raven, 
rented a small room, a very small room, 
literally in the hallway leading up to the 
Prospector Theater— that's kind of how 
we started in Park City. Then the 35 mm 
films ended up at the Yarrow the next 
day. What was great is Sundance had its 
press screenings at the Yarrow. So all 
the press came through. Dan [Mirvish, 
festival co-founder] and I would go, 
'Hey, come on in!'" 

"It was very renegade," echoes Peter 
Baxter, filmmaker and Slamdance co- 
founder. "It's not anything like it is 



Facing page: Let the Church Say Amen. 
This page: The Lab of Madness. 



now. Basically that [first] year we 
helped ourselves, and now what we're 
doing is to try and help other film- 
makers." 

Filmmaker and 1995 Slamdance 
alum Eugene Martin adds, "The 
screenings were small, anywhere from 
twenty [people] to as little as six. We 
actually rented the room that we're 
having this interview in now, and we 
screened films in here. It was very 




cool." The filmmakers helped each 
other by pooling skills and handing 
out more than 5,000 flyers, and there 
were media "taste-makers" that came 
around and responded to the work. 
For Martin, it was a process of discov- 
ery as much as of defiance. "I'm not 
defiant by personality," he says. "I'm 
just more of the idea that I work in 
film as an art form and that it's 
important to me." 

"I thought it was going to be done 
the first year," says Mirvish, "and I 
was like 'OK, thank you and good 
night.' Surprise! What wound up 
happening was that Slamdance kept 
fulfilling a niche that Sundance, to 
this day, doesn't really serve." Mirvish 



and Baxter recall that in 1997, 
Sundance expressed concern over the 
Slamdance presence at the Yarrow. 
"Sundance really didn't want us in 
their hallway," explains Baxter. So 
they moved the operation to its cur- 
rent home at the Treasure Mountain 
Inn on Park City's Main Street. One 
of the reasons that Slamdance has 
continued and succeeded despite the 
obstacles is that the actual physical 
size of the festival hasn't changed 
since that first year. They had a dozen 
shorts and a dozen features and they 
had two venues in Salt Lake City and 
two venues in Park City in 1995. The 
same holds true in 2004. 

Neither has its mission changed. 
Slamdance still champions 
first-time filmmakers with 
low-budget films in their 
competition line-up. Films 

eare chosen by programmers 
who are themselves film- 
makers and the festival jury 
is made up of peers from the 
indie community. 

"We still fill that valuable 
niche of supporting and 
nurturing new talent," says 
Mirvish. "The similarity 
between the type of film- 
maker that was in the first 
year and the type of film- 
maker in this year's festival 
is really just the same," explains 
Baxter. "It's just that it's organized a 
little bit differently and we know a few 
more things now that we did in 1995. 
We're able to have more filmmakers 
in the festival and we've also grown 
up as a year-round organization." 
Slamdance now has on-the-road 
events, a screenplay competition, a 
website, $99 Special Screenings, and 
brand-name recognition. "We're really 
concentrating on growth outside [or] 
Park City," says Baxter. 

Eugene Martin, Dan Mirvish, Paul 
Rachman, and other 1995 alumni had 
films at Slamdance 2004 as part of the 
anniversary competition and non-com- 
petition line-up. Martin's The Other 



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America, about homeless teenagers, 
opened the festival and Dan Mirvish's 
Open Home, an intimate sung-on-cam- 
era real estate musical starring Sallv 
Kellerman, received a special screening 
later in the week. Paul Rachman's work 
was shown during a S99 Special 
Screening in the Gallery. 

Meanwhile, new Slamdancers in 
2004 including Jeremy Saulnier, 
whose Crabwalk won the Grand Jury 
Sparkv Award Winner for Best Short 
Narrative, kept things old-school 
style. Shooting on regular 16mm, 
rather than mini-DY. 
cinematographer direc- 
tor Saulnier received a 
concussion capturing a 
scene on film while rid- 
ing backwards on a 
waterslide. Memron, win- 
ner of Slamdance's 
Audience Narrative 

Feature Award, was shot 
with a specially modi- 
fied camera rig that 
allowed director /writer 
Nancv Hower to be in 
the middle of the impro- 
vised action with her PD150. Shot on 
a SAG Experimental Contract without 
permits or pay. the producer's role was 
typical for an independent low budg- 
et. "We did this one day when at the 
end of the day. I [realized I] hadn't sat 
down. Evie [Peck, producer] had acted 
in the movie all day. had cooked three 
meals for all [fifteen] actors, and 
cleaned the kitchen." says Hower. 

Memron producer Robert Hickey. 
another 1995 Slamdance alum with 
his film The Bicyclist, explains further. 
"Nancy came to me and said. 'You 
know it's really hard. I wish we could 
just buy the actors some food or have a 
bathroom trailer.' And I said to Nana', 
'That would be the worst possible 
thing for your film. The whole feel of 
this thing is because you're out there 
with that boom mike [and] with that 
rig you made. All the actors are close- 
knit friends. If you put money into it. 
it would change the dynamics.'" 



So what's next for Slamdance? 
Another ten years? "We'll come back 
and do this [again]." says Rachman. 
"That's pretty inevitable." While the 
original mandate of independent film 
within the industry at large may seem 
to many as though it has changed dra- 
matically. Slamdance continues to 
champion the films made by film- 
makers in their own way with their 
own decisions. "And we do think that 
people still want to see those films, 
and they can be successful in the mar- 
ketplace." says Baxter. "That's one of 




the reasons this year we have done 
expansion into Salt Lake. We realize 
that is a great general audience. We 
took on the Madstone [theater] and 
people down in Salt Lake are respond- 
ing to it. That's part of our next step, 
sort of a third phase. First we were a 
festival, then we were a year-round 
organization, and now we want to go 
this next step to trv and provide a 
commercial opportunity to some of 
our filmmakers." 

Gibson Frazier, who attended 
Slamdance in 1999 with his film Man 
of the Century, sums up the still insur- 
gent, if now more established, festival: 
"Slamdance exists in the fact that it's 
rebelling against this bigger thing. 
We're the ones with the bis; middle 
finger, and that's OK." D 

Susan Diane Fred is a New )'ork based 
filmmaker and freelance writer. 

Irene Longshore and Tobias Segal in 
Eugene Martin's The Other America. 



28 The Independent | March 2004 



on view 



Work to Watch For 

By Jason Guerrasio 



Television: 

The Kidnapping 
of Ingrid Betancourt 

Dir. Victoria Bruce and Karin Hayes 
(Cinemax, February 23) 

For the last forty years, kidnapping has 
been a major problem in Colombia. 
One of the most intriguing cases was 
the 2002 abduction of presidential 
candidate Ingrid Betancourt— which 
occurred before filming started on 
what was supposed to be an "uplift- 
ing" documentary about Columbia. 

Three months before election day, 
in an attempt to resolve the kidnap- 
ping crisis, Betancourt arranged a 
meeting with the Revolutionary 
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)— a 
guerrilla group rapidly gaining power 
via drugs and political kidnappings. 
The FARC meeting turned out disas- 
trously, and nine days later 
Betancourt was kidnapped while driv- 
ing through FARC territory. 

Earlier in the year, filmmakers 
Victoria Bruce and Karin Hayes met 
Betancourt in the US and decided to 
film her during her run for presidency. 
"Things that I have seen about 
Colombia have always been focused on 
drugs and violence," said Hayes who 
saw the film as "a chance to tell a story 
that I had never seen told before." 

After Betancourt's kidnapping, 
however, their project became a lot 
more challenging. Although they con- 
tinued to pursue their original ideas 
for the doc, Bruce explains, 
"Everything became unknown. As 
journalists we had to go and follow the 
story and find out what happened." 

The documentary begins soon after 
the kidnapping when Betancourt's 



The digital mural from the Los Cybrids' 
"Humaquina: Manifest Tech Destiny" 
exhibit in Arizona. 



family is in shambles. Her husband, 
Juan, has taken over the reigns of the 
campaign, keeping a cardboard 
cutout of his wife by him at all events. 
The film then follows the family on an 
emotional journey as they overcome 
sudden loss and band together for a 
common cause. "We hoped to put a 
positive spin on Colombia by showing 




Ingrid doing something about this 
[kidnapping] tragedy that 3,000 peo- 
ple a year go through [in Colombia]," 
says Bruce. "By showing her family 
and their fight and struggle, we still 
show a positive side of Colombia- 
people trying to work it out." 

Multimedia: 

Los Cybrids (www.cybrids.com) 

Los Cybrids is a group of "cultural dig- 
gers" who critique today's latest tech- 
nology through artistic activity. "We do 



panels, performances, and public art 
works to confront these issues ... in a 
way to battle the mythologies about 
technology and the effects from them," 
explains John Leahos who, along with 
Praba Pilar and Rene Garcia, founded 
the group in the late 1990s. 

"The dot com boom and high tech 
boom is taking over," says Leanos. 
"We're looking at some of the ways it's 
affecting our culture." In an ironic twist 
they accomplished this by creating a 
website that critiqued the internet's 
dominance of communication. 

But the internet isn't their only 
voice. Recently Los Cybrids did a series 
of investigations into how technology 
influences and affects political, social, 
and environmental issues. At the 
Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, 
the group unveiled their examination 
of post-humanism with a piece entitled 
"Humaquina: Manifest Tech-Destiny." 

As part of the museum's "Picarte: 
Photograph)' Beyond Representation" 
exhibit, the piece (which will be up 
through the exhibit's run) explores 
how advances in technology and stud- 
les of the human body have provided 
the military with the means to create 
the "ultimate cyborg." A digital mural 
(a 10x24 foot billboard) shows a person 
of ethnic descent having different parts 
of the body replaced with robotic ver- 
sions. "I think [audiences] were awed by 
the size of the wall piece and interested 
in the whole notion of big brother is 
watching you," says Robert Buitron, 
guest curator of Picarte, who had heard 
about the group's views while putting 
together the exhibit and felt compelled 
to include them. "I think that they're 
addressing some really crucial issues 
and brought a different type of message 
to people's attention." D 

Picarte highlights some of the up and coming 
Hispanic artists on the West Coast and will be 
featured at the Heard Museum through March 
14. For more information, see www.heard.org. 



Jason Guerrasio is j staff writer for 

The Independent. 



March 2004 | The Independent 29 



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books 



Mind the Gaps 

THREE USEFUL HOW-TO'S AVOID THE JARGON 
by Alyssa Worsham 



First Time Director: 

How to Make Your Breakthrough Movie, 

by Gil Bettman, 

Michael Wiese Productions (2003) 

Documentary Storytelling 
for Film and Videomakers, 
by Sheila Curran Bernard 
Focal Press (2004) 

The Eye is Quicker: Film Editing: 
Making a Good Film Better, 
by Richard D. Pepperman 
Michael Wiese Productions (2004) 

There is a scene in Good Will Hunting in 
which Matt Damon's character tells a 
pretentious, know-it-all grad student 
from Harvard that he could acquire 
the same knowledge and Harvard edu- 



The point is that learning is an active 
process, and no amount of instruction 
can account for, or trump, a fire in the 
belly— the motivation to seek out 
knowledge on one's own. In fact, some 
of the most innovative work in film, and 
the art world in general, is done by those 
with little or no traditional training or 
education; those who work because they 
must, because they can't imagine doing 
anything else. For those filmmakers 
interested in supplementing their raw 
skills and inherent passion, though, 
three new books offer refreshing insight 
into the art of directing, documentary 
filmmaking, and film editing. 

Like most film schools, many how- 
to film books focus mainly on theory 
or are intended for readers with firm 
foundations in rudimentary filmmak- 



second or third films, and to spend 
time focusing on the challenging 
enough task of directing one entire 
feature. An associate professor at 
Chapman University and an experi- 
enced director, Bettman provides a 
straightforward directive without 
sounding too preachy or self-aggran- 
dizing. And for those who have a little 
more experience and just want a 
refresher, Bettman includes chapter 
summaries in convenient bullet-point 
form, which will make the book useful 
as a quick on-set reference as well. 

But probably the most refreshing 
aspect of First Time Director is 
Bettman's use of movies that most 
everyone has seen instead of referenc- 
ing obscure foreign directors or art 
house flicks (which, of course, have 
their own place in the landscape of 
film guidebooks). When Bettman dis- 
cusses camera blocking in Chapter 3, 
he uses the "Jack Rabbit Slims" scene 
from Pulp Fiction. While stills from the 
film will help to remind readers of the 
scene, most are probably already 




cation for no more than a buck-fifty 
in late fees from the public library. An 
exaggeration perhaps, but one that 
nonetheless yields to a certain meas- 
ure of truth— a truth, I'm sure, that 
has made more than a few self-serious 
scholars of all disciplines squirm in 
their seats. 



ing. These new books focus on filling 
in some of the gaps. 

Gil Bettman's First Time Director: 
How to Make Your First Breakthrough 
Movie has essentially one goal: to help 
you get the job done. Bettman tells his 
readers, vis-a-vis aspiring directors, 
not to worry about awards until their 



familiar with the movie and can easily 
recall its significance. Like most how- 
to books, there are passages in First 
Time Director that can be skimmed or 
simply skipped, but Bettman's conver- 
sational style and clean prose make it 
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Videomakers. by Emmy and Peabody 
Award-winner Sheila Curran Bernard, 
could be considered the nonfiction 
version of Betcman's book, though 
will probably be more helpful to sea- 
soned filmmakers. Documentaries 
can be trickier than features, as thev 
don't have the advantage of artifice or 
plot to engage the audience; the direc- 
tor must prove to the viewers that this 
subject is not just important, but 
interesting. Bernard walks her reader 
through the various stages of the 
filmmaking process— from exposition 
to research and interviews, to narra- 
tion and post-production— but some 
of her most insightful advice is about 
storytelling itself. 

While documentaries are nonfic- 
tion, they are certainly not objective, 
and even the smallest choices in writ- 
ing, filming, interviewing, narrating, or 
scoring can drastically alter the per- 
spective of the film, and in turn, the 
audience. Bernard is keenly aware of 
the power of persuasive images, and 
her insistence on complexity and 
integrity is a consistent theme 
throughout the book. She. like 
Bettman. also uses well-known films 
like Michael Moore's Bowling for 
Columbine and Errol Morris's The Thin 
Blue Line for clear explications of her 
points. Bernard also includes a series of 
interviews with filmmakers including 
Ric Burns, Jon Else, Susan Froemke, 
and Sam Pollard, among others, all of 
whom offer a wealth of varying per- 
spectives. Pollard, who has edited 
several films for Spike Lee, talks about 
searching for the story arc of Lee's 4 
Little Girls in raw footage alone. And Ric 
Burns reminds readers that the 
research must end at some point— that 
there should remain "an oscillation 
between obsessiveness and decisive- 
ness, and you can't abandon either." 

Finallv. editor and School of Visual 
Arts professor Richard Pepperman 
lends his editing insight and experi- 
ence in The Eye is Quicker: Film Editing: 
Making a Good Film Better, which com- 
pliments both of the aforementioned 



works. Pepperman's title counters the 
adage "the hand is quicker than the 
eye," his premise being that even with 
all of the new digital editing technolo- 
gy, bad cuts in film are still just as dis- 
tracting to the eye, pulling the viewer 
out of the film in a "mental hiccup." 
Editing is more than stringing togeth- 
er a set of scenes. An editor must be 
aware of the jarring effects of cutting, 
which also involves lighting, focal 
points, movement, and angles. 

Pepperman states that editing 
should remain simple, though it isn't 
easy to keep it as such, and his book 
heeds its own advice. The writing is 
concise and straightforward, and his 
anecdotes are well-chosen. Pepperman 
sets out to explain the mindset and 
acquired skills necessary for an editor, 
and then takes his reader through the 
various techniques. While examples 
from films (both Holhwood and stu- 
dent features) comprise the bulk of the 
text, Pepperman includes bolded tips 
and hints throughout, so a discerning 
or hurried reader can skip around. 

Though he is familiar with all of the 
latest technology. Pepperman is a tra- 
ditionalist at heart. Editing can be a 
tedious process, and so can reading 
about it. but to Pepperman's credit 
the book's tone keeps pace at a steadv. 
linear clip, and the illustrations by 
Mark Pacella elucidate many of 
Pepperman's finer points, while at the 
same time providing some nice eye 
candy. The Eye is Quicker is not just a 
book for editors, it is a book for film- 
makers. Pepperman's sensibility 
might easily lend itself to directors 
looking to compose a shot or to writ- 
ers trying to make a clean transition. 

While each of these books has 
something distinct to offer, the real 
value is in their collective, bottom-line 
accessibility to a variety of filmmak- 
ers. Without using alienating jargon 
or theory, all are geared toward get- 
ting the job done— as simply and skill- 
fully as possible. D 

Afyisa Worsham is a freelance writer 

living in Scu- York City. 



32 The Independent | March 2004 



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i'm 



LjL^-4jJ 



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■ 



The IDFA Forum 



By Christine Schomer 



Every November, most of Europe's and many 
of the world's commissioning editors converge 
upon the city of Amsterdam for the 
International Documentary Film Festival 
(International Documentary Film/Festival Amsterdam) 
and its adjunct event, the Forum. The IDFA Forum is 
known by its Dutch acronym (though pronounced "Idfah" 
not "I.D.F.A."), and has a reputation among filmmakers as 
being the place where you can make or break not just a film 
project, but also potentially your entire career. 

The IDFA Forum is the United Nations event of docu- 
mentary film— a three-day pitch-fest where knock-kneed 
filmmakers pitch their projects to a packed and daunting 
room of commissioning editors who can publicly eviscer- 
ate the weaker projects with as much vigor as they can 
endorse (and ultimately finance) the best of the bunch. 
And while you can point to a few other smaller, similarly- 
minded filmmaker/producer/broadcaster tete-a-tetes 



(HotDocs and IFP No Borders Market among them), the 
Forum has arguably done more to spur the next wave of 
financial and artistic collaboration in the field of docu- 
mentary filmmaking in the past ten years than any other 
venue of its kind. 

Unfortunately, while the Forum has good international 
attendance (boasting; the largest gathering of commission- 
ing editors and independent producers in the world), it has 
extremely limited access for American filmmakers, and is 
not particularly welcoming to American broadcasters, 
either. Which is not to say that an event that focuses on 
European rather than American filmmaking falls short of 
a best-case scenario, but it does box out Americans from an 
arena of funding that would be a great benefit in terms of 
independent producing. Money for European documen- 
tary filmmakers comes from the European Union's public 
broadcasting units as part of a much broader social man- 
date for arts and culture funding than the US will ever 



March 2004 | The Independent 33 



have. Film financing for doc filmmakers in the US, largely 
from privare broadcasters, doesn't come through until a 
bona fide revenue opportunity is in evidence. So for now. 
American filmmakers can only press their noses up against 
the glass at this half-Eden (money, money, everywhere), 
half-Ayn Rand paradise (but only the best films will get it), 
with the hope of one day being granted more access. 

The rules are simple, and have remained almost 
unchanged since the Forum's inception in 1993. First of 
all, projects have to be invited— no just showing up and 
pitching your mother's life story as a French resistance 
leader. Projects are required to have at least twenty-five 
percent but no more than seventy-five percent of their 




budget in place. Films attend with a commissioning editor 
attached (that editor lends a certain legitimacy and com- 
mitment to the project, and is allowed to participate in the 
pitch process). Project representatives have seven minutes 
to pitch their film— video presentations are allowed— and 
eight minutes to answer questions. During the pitch 
process, fort}' broadcasters sit around a U-shaped table 
with two moderators (who are also commissioning editors) 
to lead the dialogue. The filmmaker sits in the hot seat 
opposite the table to make for a scenario that one produc- 
er summed up as "The Weakest Link meets the UN." 

Over one hundred observers (producers without projects 
in the Forum can observe for a fee, but no general observers 
are permitted) take in the pitch proceedings, many with an 
eye for content, but many, too, who enjoy an occasional 
crash-and-burn presentation as much as a good botched 
triple-quad at the winter Olympics. Contrary to what one 
might think, though, it's not just about being prepared. 
"There were some people I felt really bad for. They had 
clearly rehearsed and then they had a computer problem 
and they were just lost," recalls Claire Aguilar of ITYS. 

Nick Fraser of the BBC is known at the IDFA for his sharp 



tongue, succinct thinking, and his seemingly merciless lack 
of interest in unworthy projects. While he takes mild offense 
to this characterization, he explains that he also has fifty-two 
slots to fill a year on BBC's Storyville, and does not suffer 
fools gladly. Though he is willing to recognize a good proj- 
ect behind a bad pitch: "Let's say you have five minutes of 
wonderfully shot material," Fraser says. "Even if you're real- 
ly quite inarticulate when you go up, you know if the project 
is good you're going to get money anyway." 

Dallas Brennan, a producer from Big Mouth 
Productions (see page 40), represented the sole American 
project attending the 2003 Forum. She and her project's 
co-directors, Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson, pitched 
Deadline (formerly titled Life After Death Row), which docu- 
ments Illinois Governor George Ryan's crisis of conscience 
and subsequent repeal of the state's death penalty. At the 
time of the Forum, Brennan's project was twenty weeks 
into editing, with S90.000 spent, and no more money in 
sight. "We kind of had no good options on the fire at that 
point, so we were going there with a tiny bit of despera- 
tion," she says. "We had heard these things like they don't 
like Americans, or if you say one thing that hits a nerve, 
you're cooked . . . we were scared straight." 

Brennan and her colleagues went into their pitch session 
very prepared, and focused on creating a cohesive pitch 
with an international appeal. "We didn't want to be 
pigeonholed as American filmmakers making an American 
story about an American issue," says Brennan. "We were 
trying to broaden it into a universal issue of political 
responsibility, crisis of conscience, human rights, and 
ethics." The filmmakers cut a 4:20 presentation tape, and 
rehearsed every sentence of their pitch down to its most 
essential and economic delivery. But even then they fretted. 
"We're all people who exist behind the camera. None of us 
are born performers and somebody had told me that it's 
really a performance piece, and what you need to do is per- 
form your film," Brennan explains. "This was not some- 
thing that any of us were too terribly excited about." 

Brennan says that the first moment of interior panic she 
endured was when the one-minute bell went off while their 
presentation tape was still running (and they had 2:40 
worth of explaining left to do). Further panic ensued when 
the moderator. Films Transit founder Jan Rofekamp, elicit- 
ed the first response from Fraser. Brennan recalls the 
instance: "That was kind of like a sink or swim moment. 
What we saw over and over again was if Nick said, 'I don't 
know. I've seen this project a million times and I'm totally 
uninterested," or 'It could have been a great film but you 



This page: Deadline's subject George Ryan, former Governor 
of Illinois. Facing page: left to right, Kirsten Johnson, Co- 
Director; Dallas Brennan. Producer; Katy Chevigny, Producer 
& Co-Director of Deadline. 



34 The Independent | March 2004 



really took it in a wrong direction,' . . . then everybody else 
would say, 'Yes, I have to pass . . . '" Fraser told the film- 
makers: "I hate the title, like the film," and from there, not 
only did Deadline come away from the event with commit- 
ments for the remaining sixty percent of financing, they 
also picked up an aggressive international distributor— 
Mette Hoffmann Meyer of Denmark's TV2. 

The Forum commissioning editors do have some sympa- 
thy for the intense pressure of the environment, but ulti- 
mately agree that the scenario is good for business and good 
for filmmaking. As Fraser explains, "It seems like the craziest 
way to raise money for documentaries, but in fact there does- 
n't seem to be any alternative." The event also brings togeth- 
er broadcasters in a new configuration for both Europeans 
and Americans. For the Europeans, the past decade of IDFA 
has meant a greater sense of communication and the evolu- 
tion of cross-continental and global co-producing. Says 
TV2's Hoffmann Meyer, a ten-year veteran of the event, "If 
you work together a lot and you go to the same places, you 
produce together and you get to know each other." 

For her part, Hoffmann Meyer has coordinated two 
projects that are a result of the cultivated camaraderie the 
Forum provides— one, a series that involves thirteen com- 
missioning editors and thirty-eight films from African 
directors about living with AIDS and HIV, and more 
recently, To Live is Better Than To Die, a documentary about 
a rural Chinese family ravaged by AIDS. Hoffman Meyer is 
quick to explain, however, that this sort of project may not 
always be the priority of TV2 per se, but that To Live raised 
the bar somewhat. "It's a very emotional and heartbreaking 
film, and sometimes you feel you have to do a little bit 
more." 

Fraser delivers a more blunt interpretation of IDFA's col- 
laborative benefits: "No doubt about it, there's a certain 
joint commissioning or co-commissioning that wouldn't 
have ever existed throughout Europe if it hadn't been for 
these pitches. Not only eight years ago did the BBC not 
show any foreign documentaries, it wouldn't have dreamed 
of sharing its so-called sovereignty with all these other peo- 
ple. When you tell people with the BBC, 'Oh, we did this 
film with eight co-producers,' they fall off their chairs. 
They aren't used to working that way." 

But while Hoffmann Meyer feels that it's most appropri- 
ate for IDFA to serve the EU countries, Fraser feels that the 
system as a whole won't function optimally until the 
Americans are full partners both as filmmakers and com- 
missioners, citing that for now, "the Americans are sort of 
half in and half out of the system." But it's not only by 
internal design that Americans are on the outside looking 
in. ITVS's Aguilar explains that, for example, ITVS partici- 
pation at the Forum is limited in part by their own internal 
mandate to fund American independents, not foreign 
ones. Still, she says that while the atmosphere as a broad- 



caster was "collegia]./' she found it "shocking" that only 
one American film was pitched at the venue. 

The American commissioning editors for the most part 
have less to complain about than American filmmakers, 
because while the collaboration level may not be as inte- 
grated, they get the best access to the current foreign slate 




of projects. "For us," explains HBO Vice President of 
Original Programming and IDFA attendee Lisa Heller, "we 
look at it as a wonderful opportunity to hear about the 
wide range of work that already has some support, and see 
it at various stages and start tracking it." 

Increasing American participation would almost cer- 
tainly alter the flavor of the event, but Fraser, for one, feels 
that when it comes to quality, the more the merrier. "On 
the whole, what is amazing to me is how wonderful 
American documentaries are with no subsidies. If you 
think of the subsidies in Europe, it's kind of shocking 
because they ought to be better than American documen- 
taries and they're not. Americans manage to make the best 
documentaries with no money at all." 

It's a nut that may not crack, which is unfortunate, 
because the pitch system at the Forum has been created in 
a way that not only lends itself to certain strengths in 
American style— salesmanship and the art of the pitch— but 
that also spreads the wealth to worthy projects that ought 
not be penalized precisely because of the organic shift 
towards collaboration among commissioning editors. 

For filmmakers and broadcasters alike, this well-run, 
well-organized, well-attended event would almost definite- 
ly continue to thrive if it threw the doors open and let the 
rest of the world in. D 

Filmmakers looking to participate in the 2004 IDFA Forum can visit 
www.idfa.nl/professionals/forum/iprof_foru_prfl_mtr_fr.htm for more 
information about submissions. 

Christine Schomer is a freelance writer and television 

producer in New York City. 



March 2004 | The Independent 35 




The "F" Factor 



WOMEN: WHERE IT'S AT 



By Erin Torneo 



This is che first and last "Women In Film" article 
filmmaker Julie Talen wants to be in. She'd 
rather talk about multi-channel film narratives, a 
form she studied in-depth before using it to tell 
the story of a family's fracturing in her recent debut feature 
Pretend. And you can see why. In the film, she pushes the 
form far beyond what filmmaker Mike Figgis attempted in 
Tune Code, creating a visual symphony of multiple frames 
sliding back and forth, triptychs offering different simulta- 
neous points of view, and audio channels overlapping— 
none of which has anything to do with her being a woman 
and everything to do with our "more, more" muln-win- 
dowed world and the possibilities of the digital medium. 

After all. it's been thirty years since the tumultuous gen- 
der politicking of the late 1960s and 1970s, and no one is 
naive enough to expect that there'd be gender pant)' in the 
movie industry when it doesn't yet exist am-where else. But 
how far have women come in film? In a New York Times arti- 
cle earlier this year. Elvis Mitchell suggested that while 
unfortunate to have to point out. 2003 was a good year for 
women in film, because of such notable films as Lost in 
Translation. Monster. Something's Gotta Give. Thirteen, Whale 



Rider, and the co-directed American Splendor. Let's reconsid- 
er that: A strong year— for women— because five and a half 
films out of how many hundreds of studio, specialty, doc. 
and foreign films released were directed by women? 

And that's exactly Talen's point. "The assumption is that 
women are a strange subset and that the real people who 
are doing it are male," she explains. Call it the "F" factor, 
but a lot of women in the biz don't want to identify them- 
selves as "female filmmakers" for fear of being called a fem- 
inist (industry translation: "man-hater"). "I understand 
that in some way [the characterization as female filmmak- 
er] takes away from their accomplishment as filmmakers." 
savs Women Make Movies' Executive Director Debra 
Zimmerman. "But it's affirmative action in a way." 

So what's the view from the trenches? There are certain- 
ly plenty of women out there making films independently. 
How does the "F" word affect them? "I don't want CO be 
exoticized because of mv ethnicity or because I'm a 



Left to right: Tanya Steele, writer of Parachute Factory; film- 
maker Kelly Duane; still from Annamarie Jacir's Like Twenty 
Impossibles. Bottom: Escuela by Hannah Weyer. 



36 The Independent | March 2004 




woman," says Annemarie Jacir, director of the 2003 award 
winning short Like Twenty Impossibles. "It's a dangerous 
zone because you don't have the same opportunities, but I 
don't want to be given opportunity because 'Oh, you're a 
Palestinian and a female director, and we don't have 
enough of that, so here's your role. We support you not 
because of the work you're doing, but because of where you 
come from.'" Zimmerman acknowledges that this kind of 
boxing in is a huge problem, as with Sundance '91 alum 
Julie Dash, who became the first African American woman 
to have a general theatrical release with Daughter of the Dust, 
and since then, says Zimmerman, "she's had every kind of 
'girls in the hood' screenplay sent to her." 

Does being called a female filmmaker, or an African 
American female filmmaker, or being part of a "Women in 
Film" issue ghettoize the women who are making films? 
Not according to Zimmerman, who still sees a need to high- 
light female filmmakers in an effort to counter their gross 
under-representation in the marketplace and at festivals. 
She points out that in the last three years, for example, the 
New York Film Festival included just two films by women 
per the twenty-five programmed each year, or fewer than 
ten percent. Sundance, on the other hand, offers more 
hopeful numbers, which Zimmerman attributes in part to 
programmers Shari Frilot and Caroline Libresco. This past 
January, she notes, if films co-directed by men were includ- 
ed, women filmmakers accounted for fifty percent of the 
competition films at Sundance, but in the features women 
directed just two out of twenty-two, with dismal figures 
from world cinema and world documentaries. At Toronto 
last year, in the main section excluding Canadian films, just 



two-and-a-half percent of the features were by women, while 
in documentary that statistic rose to twenty-five percent. 

Likewise, Holly Taylor, a Seattle-based cinematographer 
who shot Sherman Alexie's The Business of Fancydancing and 
is in development on Alexie's forthcoming What You Pawn I 
Shall Redeem, explains that as long as the facts are facts- 
such as the Academy of Arts and Sciences having yet to rec- 
ognize a female director or cinematographer— sexism is 
alive and well. "It seems like things have changed because 
everyone uses politically correct language, but in fact, I 
don't think it's changed much at all," Taylor says. 

It is important to note, though, that women have histori- 
cally had a much easier time assimilating the low cost, less 
commercial realm of documentary film. For Melissa Lohman 
(Grandpa's Apartment) and Kelly Duane (See How They Run and 
Monumental— premiering this month at the Smithsonian), two 




March 2004 | The Independent 37 



documentanans verv earl\' in their career, being female has 
never been an issue. Their struggles are simply chose of anvone 
trying to make documentary films— "less a gender dilemma," 
as Lohman puts it, "so much as an artist's dilemma." She and 
Duane, along with Jacir, have never felt that being female 
should be primary to their work. Their projects are de\ 'eloped 
without anv sense of obligation to tell "women's stories." 
Interesting!)', though. Jacir mentions that someone once 
questioned her about why she wrote stories with male protag- 
onists. She explains: "Because of the way things are, when I 
write a female character, the fact that she's a woman becomes 
the point of the story. And I just want to write the storv." 

As Gini Reticker's and Lesli Klainberg's documentary iw the 
Company of Women (airing this month on IFC) charts, it was 
the first wave of women making films in the 1970s and 80s 
who really considered themselves female filmmakers. They 
mostly showed stories about women's lives, in part because 
they had never really been seen before. And their work opened 
up the floor to future generations like Jacir, Lohman. and 
Duane, as well as Kim Peirce, Lisa Cholodenko, and Nicole 
Holofcener, who no longer feel they have to make films about 
women, much less identify themselves as female filmmakers. 

Ironically, such progress has backfired somewhat in that 
it prevents some women from being eligible for funds avail- 
able to female filmmakers if their work is not about women 
or from a particularly female point of view. While Women 
Make Movies is the largest distributor of film and videos by 
and about women, Zimmerman is quick to point out that 
their production assistance program is open to all women, 
irrespective of the type of films they are making— their dis- 
tribution criteria, she says, are both "a political act as well 
as smart marketing strategy." For thirty years, the non- 
profit organization has fought for getting forgotten 
women's stories out there, and in doing so has established 
a successful niche for itself. But as Zimmerman puts it. 



"our biggest success would be if organizations like WMM 
went out of business because we were no longer needed." 

But whether or not women filmmakers identify them- 
selves along gender lines, motherhood, if they choose it, is 
an irrefutable gender impasse. "My generation really 
thought that you'd get married at twenty-eight, and at 
twenty-nine you could have a baby strapped to your back 
calling 'Action!'" laughs Talen. The physical realities of 



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childrearing, of course, are much more limiting. "I was 
dealing with a huge shift in mv identity, the very real phys- 
ical demands— sleepless nights, breastfeeding, 'wearing of 
the baby,' and of course, falling in love with my child," 
recalls Hannah Weyer, whose daughter was born while she 
was in post-production on La Escuela, the second of her two 
acclaimed documentaries about the migrant Luis family. 

Likewise, both Klainberg and Reticker are moms, with 
Klainberg expecting her second child this June. "I've never 
been scared to talk about [having children], never scared I 
would lose a job," she says. "Actually, having a child is an 
incredible time-management tool. I mean, if you thought 
you were organized before ..." In their film, In the Company 
of Women, many filmmakers, including Jodie 
Foster, talk about motherhood being a valu- 
able contribution to the work they do. But like 
any working women, those in film must grap- 
ple with how to find a balance between profes- 
sional ambitions and personal family desires. 
Reticker. however, feels that film may actually 
be more forgiving than other industries 
because it allows you to go in and out on a 
project basis. 

For Reticker then, motherhood isn't the 
barrier. "Our biggest barrier is getting funding 
for the kinds of stories we want to make." 
Klainberg agrees, suggesting that the barriers 
are set up around executives' perceptions of 
the audience— what it wants to see— and who 
the so-called audience for "women's films" is. 
C Part of Zimmerman's advocacy is to dismantle 



38 The Independent | March 2004 



these myths about the audience, particularly in the 
export/ancillary markets like Asia, which have become so 
crucial to a film's viability. "The top four grossing pictures 
in the Philippines were by women," she argues. "Women 
went out in droves to see these films." 

But there's also a lot of myth about what "women's 
films" are. You wouldn't call Tanya Steele's screenplay 
The Parachute Factory, which won the IFP Emerging 
Narratives Award last year and placed second at 
Slamdance, a chick flick. For one, it's an indictment of 
violence— a story exploring how the Civil Rights move- 
ment was relevant to victims of domestic violence. "It 
deals in a lot of traumas and horrors that I think liberal 
folks might think they can't take on in black characters 
because it might be too scary," she says. But is her brand 
of violence somehow different because a woman writes it? 
"I don't know. But I do know that the violence is rattling 
to some people because it isn't gratuitous. It's almost jus- 
tified, so they can't dismiss it." 

Similarly, the onscreen sexuality through the eyes of 
women can make men uncomfortable or even frightened, 
says Zimmerman. She cites Toronto 2003 films like Jane 
Campion's In the Cut, Sue Brooks' Japanese Story, Isabel 
Coixet's Life Without Me, and 200 l's Baise-Moi. "They are all 
in some way about women being in control of their sexual- 
ity, or representing the way women explore their sexuality, 
in a way that I think men are actually afraid of." In our 
visual culture, of course, this is because women's sexuality 
has traditionally been controlled through objectification. 
So what do women want to see as an audience? Reticker 
points to Frances McDormand's character in Laurel 
Canyon, directed by Lisa Cholodenko: "To see a woman just 
own her sexuality, and she's not necessarily good or bad. 
One of the things Lisa says about it is that she wasn't wor- 
ried about portraying a good or bad woman, just an inter- 
esting one. And that feels like a real evolution." 

There's no denying that the issue isn't a lack of women 
making good films. Just look at Sundance, long a measure 
of the state of American filmmaking: In 2002, Rebecca 
Miller's Personal Velocity took home both the grand jury 
award as well as the cinematography award for Ellen Kuras' 
work; in documentary, Lourdes Portillo's Senorita 
Extraviada took a special jury prize, and Gail Dolgin and 
Vicente Franco won the grand jury prize for Daughter from 
Danang. Last year, Shari Springer Berman and Robert 
Pulcini's American Splendor took the dramatic grand jury 
prize, while the directing award went to Katherine 
Hardwicke for thirteen, and Niki Caro's Whalerider received 



Facing Page (left to right): Director Julie Talen with actor 
Danielle Freid on the set of Pretend; Holly Taylor, DP, (left) 
on the set of Sherman Alexie's The Business of 
Fancydancing. This page: Monumental by Kelly Duane. 




the audience award in world cinema. 

But for all the attention women filmmakers may get at the 
rarefied atmosphere in Park City, in the larger world, there's 
still a ways to go. Not only by rewriting the way women are 
viewed on screen, but also in being free from the myths 
about the kind of movies women make. What it means to be 
a female filmmaker, then, is less about meeting a quota or 
leveling the playing field. Says Reticker: "It's not that women 
want equal footing with men so much as they want their sto- 
ries equally valued in the marketplace." D 

Erin Torneo is a Brooklyn-based writer. 



March 2004 | The Independent 39 



The Girl Team 

JOINING FORCES TO DO IT THEMSELVES 



By Elizabeth Angell 




While there are alarmingly few women 
helming movies these days, there are more 
and more behind the scenes. The role of 
producer is one that seems increasingly 
open to the industry's women and here, The Independent 
profiles female production teams who are changing the 
industry, one little movie at a time. 



Big Mouth Productions 

Katy Chevigny and Dallas Brennan 

Katy Chevigny and Dallas Brennan sit at desks only six feet 
apart in their loft-like office space at Big Mouth 
Productions on 14th Street in New York City. They are sep- 
arated bv a lar^e bookcase laden with the usual small-office 
paraphernalia: haphazard piles of books and tapes, folders, 
and binders labeled by hand. They have little privacy and 
though, as partners, they run Big Mouth, their corner of 
office real estate is not particularly awe-inspiring. Chevigny, 
thirty-five, and Brennan, thirty-one, could be any harried 
young women at the helm of a fledgling business. 

But it is this very arrangement— the office, the desks, the 
trappings of entrepreneurship— that makes Big Mouth 
such an unusual engine for documentary production. "A 
lot of people make documentaries out of their living 
rooms," says Brennan. "It's more feasible financially, but 
the burnout factor is much higher. They make one or two 
films and then they can't face it again." 

Chevigny and Brennan work hard to earn' the overhead 
of an office and staff because they want to be more than 
just independent producers who work project to project. 
"We wanted a certain continuity of staff across time and 
films," says Chevigny, who founded Big Mouth with her 
friend and college classmate Julia Pimsleur in 1997. She 
had begun her career as a social worker, and then moved on 
to film production in Chicago. At Big Mouth, she and 
Pimsleur produced a series of social issue documentaries 
together. When Pimsleur left two years ago, Brennan 
became a senior producer. Big Mouth's sixth film. Deadline, 
premiered earlier this year at Sundance. 

Big Mouth's longevity is a sure sign of success, but 
Chevigny and Brennan still struggle to find funding for 
their films. "It doesn't necessarily get easier," says Brennan. 
"You don't have too manv laurels to rest on. Of course, we 



This page: Kathleen Mclnnis, Fly Films. Facing (left to right): 
Roland Park Pictures' Xan Parker and Elizabeth Holder. 



40 The Independent | March 2004 



also don't have to ask ourselves 'did we sell out?"' Adds 
Chevigny, "The moral high ground is definitely ours." 

They do see signs that the market for documentaries— 
especially serious-minded ones— may be changing. 2003 
was a big year for documentaries, and distributors are 
much more interested in the medium. When Chevigny 
and Brennan sent out the press release for Deadline's 
Sundance premiere, they were flooded with phone calls 
from agents and publicists. That had never happened 
before. "They must think they will be able to make money 
on documentaries," says Chevigny. 

Despite their still-chronic lack of funds— for now a fact 
of life for all documentary producers— the Big Mouth 
strategy must be working. Chevigny and Brennan don't 
appear burnt out. They'll still fill in as boom operators or 
craft services on a shoot, and they'll spend weeks traveling 
with their film. They often find themselves doubling up in 
inexpensive hotel rooms on the road. That, says Chevigny, 
may be the biggest difference between Big Mouth's part- 
ners and their male counterparts: "Controlling for all 
other factors, guys in our level in the business are not as 
willing to share a bed." 

Roland Park Pictures 

Xan Parker and Elizabeth Holder 

A few months ago, Xan Parker sent her mother a rough cut 
of the documentary she had made with producing partner 
and co-director Elizabeth Holder. Mama Parker called 
back, surprised by what she had seen. "She said 'Wow! This 
is like a real movie. I thought it was going to be like Xan 
and Elizabeth do a play on the landing of the stairs,'" 
remembers her daughter, laughing. 

Parker forgave her mother for underestimating how her 
first film might turn out. After all, she and Holder, both 
thirty-four, had met in the first grade, twenty-eight years 
earlier. They really did get their start performing plays on 
the staircase landing. The women lost touch after the fifth 
grade, but ran into each other again in New York after col- 
lege. They were both working in film and they became close 
again. Parker spent eight years working with legendary doc- 
umentary filmmaker Albert Maysles as an associate 
producer, eventually heading up distribution and develop- 
ment for their classic documentaries. Holder began her 
career as a PA on the set of John Waters' film Hairspray, 
when she was a teenager. She has directed plays, two shorts, 
a feature, and the children's television show Blues Clues. In 
1999, the two founded Roland Park Pictures, named for the 
Baltimore neighborhood where they had both grown up. 

Roland Park's first project was a documentary called 
Risk/Reward, which will premiere on the Oxygen television 
network on March 14. Their film profiles four young 
women who work on Wall Street, and chronicles their 
struggles for success and balance in the ultra-competitive, 



male-dominated world of finance. Both Parker and Holder 
see an obvious parallel in the path they have chosen. There 
are few female filmmakers and most of the money is con- 
trolled by men or male-dominated institutions. The 




women in Risk/Reward had to look to alternative sources 
and encouragement— just what many female directors and 
producers presumably do as well. 

"Women's networking is actually something that 
interests us a lot," says Parker. "On Wall Street, women 
did not have an informal, old boy's network in place and 
so what a lot have done is to create and build formal 
women's networks." 

Despite their interest in feminist issues, neither Parker 
nor Holder wants Roland Park to produce only "women's 
films." Like every woman interviewed for this article, they 
wanted to be seen as filmmakers first, women second. 

To that end, they have three very different documen- 
taries in the hopper after Risk/Reward is wrapped, as well as 
a documentary they will produce for another director, a 
fiction feature, and a television pilot. Though Parker has 
never worked in features or television, she is confident 
Holder's experience will get her through— just as her docu- 
mentary experience got Risk Reward off the ground. 

Her Roland Park partner feels the same way: "I don't 
want to do a movie without Xan. I just don't, no matter 
what it is," says Holder. 

Exit 5 Entertainment 

Diana Williams and Melissa Bradley 

Neither Diana Williams nor Melissa Bradley, partners and 
co-founders of Exit 5 Entertainment, say they've experi- 
enced a lot of overt sexism. Nor have they noticed much 
obvious racism, although they are both African American 
and one of the few female producing teams of color in 
either independent or studio filmmaking. 



March 2004 | The Independent 41 



Of course, both forms of discrimination pop up in more 
subtle ways. 

"The one thing that is very prevalent is the expectation 
that you're going to do soft little girlie films," savs 
Williams. "And there are some women who only want to do 
Nora Ephron movies. But that is just not my thing. Also, 
being black, people assume all I would want to do are "in 
the hood' films. But I grew up in the suburbs near a farm- 
ing community in New Jersey." Williams would rather 
develop comic book and horror projects. She isn't oblivi- 
ous to these stereotypes, but she isn't particular!}' con- 
cerned that they'll get in her way either. "Jerry Bruckheimer 
did Veronica Guerin" she points out. "And he's not a chick, 
he's not a journalist, and he's not Irish." 

Williams honed her just-make-good-movies approach in 
LA working as an assistant director on studio features. She 
learned how to interpret what a director had described into 
shots they could get. "That kind of translation is also a big 
part of producing," she says. 

In 1994, Williams produced her first film, a documen- 
tary. Soon after, she produced a short feature which she 
took on the festival circuit and quickly met directors who 
sent her scripts. "I kept thinking I'd go back to assistant 
directing or development for a studio, but after my sixth 
film, I thought 'Huh, maybe I'm a producer.'" 

After almost a decade of working film to film, Williams 
began to discuss the idea of launching a full-fledged 

production company 
with her college 
friend Melissa Bradley. 
She and Bradley had 
both studied finance 
at Georgetown and 
Bradley had contin- 
ued to work as a 
consultant. "My goal 
is to focus on the 
deal," says Bradley. 
"It helps keep the cre- 
ative separate, and 
helps me function m a 
world that's very business-oriented, but doesn't always feel 
like that." 

Their partnership is now more than a year old and it 
has only increased the slate of films that Williams is able 
to devote her energies to. There are between ten and fif- 
teen E5E projects in the pipeline. "It sounds like a cliche, 
but we want unique voices and unique talent," says 
Williams. "But if a film is too personal, it's just going to 
be for you and your ten friends. I want to make films 
that communicate to many people." 





GreenHouse Pictures 

Selina Lewis Davidson and Nancy Roth 

Many production companies take the eclectic approach. 
Their slate includes a couple of features, a documentary or 
two. a smattering of shorts, and maybe a television pitch. 
Often, these producers are even making corporate videos on 
the side to pay the bills. But not the newly formed 
GreenHouse Pictures. Partners Selena Lewis Davidson and 
Nancy Roth wanted 
to spend their time 
exclusively on docu- 
mentaries. 

Between them, 
Davidson and Roth, 
both thirty-seven, 
have almost twenty- 
five years of film- 
making experience. 
Davidson got her 
start in TV produc- 
tion in LA, then 
attended NYU film 

school, and then went on to edit and produce. Roth spent 
ten years m narrative features and began making docu- 
mentaries in 1999, after attending the Hunter College film 
program. They first worked together at Mixed Greens, a 
production company that works in a variety of genres. 
Their new venture is now the documentary arm of that 
company. 

Though GreenHouse is only a few months old, Davidson 
and Roth already have a full docket. The 2002 film Escuela is 
about Mexican American migrant farm workers; another 
timely documentary, Dreamland, is about post-war occupa- 
tion in Iraq. "There are so many stories that aren't covered 
and that's why we make documentary films," says 
Davidson. "We're interested in stories that are new. that 
aren't being told and need to be told." 

Unlike many documentary producers, neither Davidson 
nor Roth is a director. They didn't get into the business of 
producing to fund their own ventures. Both are dedicated 
to finding good filmmakers and enabling them to make 
their movies. "We want to use our efforts on stories that we 
think need to be told, and rather than spend five years on 
a project that the two of us will direct, as producers at 
GreenHouse we hope we can make several movies in five 
years," says Roth. "Our goal is to try and create a safe place 
for creativity to happen," adds Davidson. 

It is perhaps this sensibility that is their most feminine. 
Though both Davidson and Roth say they became partners 
because of matched sensibilities and similar temperaments, 
they concede that their supportive style might set them 

Left: Diana Williams, Exit 5 Entertainment. Right: Greenhouse 
Pictures' Nancy Roth and Selina Lewis Davidson. 



42 The Independent | March 2004 



apart from a co-ed or all male enterprise. "We're very nurtur- 
ing producers," says Roth. "We joke sometimes that we've 
fallen to the role of Moms a bit too much," adds Davidson. 
Ironically, as a female duo, they don't have to worry 
about traditional gender relationships corrupting their part- 
nership. Both have worked extensively with men— and still 
do, forming outside production agreements frequently. But 
with each other, the partnership seems naturally equal. 

Fly Films 

Kathleen Mclnnis and Amy Lillard 

Kathleen Mclnnis sometimes wonders why she has stayed in 
Seattle. Why not just get it over with and move down to LA? 
After all, as a film producer, that would be the natural place 
to set up shop. Then she takes one of her monthly trips 
down the coast to California for a meeting and she remem- 
bers. LA feels like a bigger fishbowl with more people judg- 
ing your every effort. 

Mclnnis and her partner, Amy Lillard, produce films in 
Seattle and have no plans to relocate to the movie meccas 
of LA or New York. Though they make sacrifices to be in a 
smaller market, they like the collegial, supportive atmos- 
phere of the Seattle film community. And they get to focus 
on new talent, making small low-budget films without the 
excessive pressure to ramp up commercially that they 
might experience in LA. "Seattle is a great place to start 
your career as a filmmaker. People take risks and stretch 
themselves," says Mclnnis. "And I get to work with all these 
people who are technically proficient but willing to jump 
off the edge. [In Seattle] we have that frontier feeling of all 
the things we can try." 

Mclnnis also believes that Seattle is a better place to be a 
woman producer. In LA, she frequently feels like the only 
strong female voice in the room, but in Seattle, she says, 
"it's much more 50/50. I end up being in social circles with 
a lot of female filmmakers, so I end up making relation- 
ships that lead to more projects." 

Mclnnis, forty-five, began her career as a stage actor. She 
quickly moved on to writing for film magazines and host- 
ed a radio show about movies. She worked in program- 
ming and publicity for film festivals and traveled around 
the world following the festival circuit. 

In 1995, Mclnnis began Fly Films. She liked being her own 
boss, but the pressures of being the only person keeping an 
enterprise afloat were considerable. "I could never just enjoy 
the job that I had because I knew that right after that I had 
to have another one." 

Two years ago, she met Lillard, thirty-one, while working as 
a programmer at the Seattle Film Festival. They clicked and 
Mclnnis suggested Lillard become her producing partner. As 
she had hoped, the partnership let her get twice as much 
done, but it also added an element to producing which 
Mclnnis had not anticipated. "We got this rhythm going [as 



partners]; her input just increased my ability to think creativ- 
ity, to perceive creatively," says Mclnnis. "We had the ability to 
go back and forth with new paradigms and we had new 
opportunities." 

Today, Fly Films, the series they annually produce for the 
Seattle Film Festival, has several projects on its slate, includ- 
ing two features that they are casting now. Both Mclnnis and 
Lillard are still heavily involved in their hometown's film fes- 
tival and they produce the Fly Filmmaking Challenge for that 
event. Every year, ten young filmmakers produce a short film, 
which becomes a permanent part of the series. 

Salty Features 

Eva Kolodner and Yael Melamede 

To many directors and producers, independent filmmak- 
ing is all about being the scrappy outsider. Unlike the stu- 
dio system, there aren't many institutions with established 
track records where a young producer can break into the 
business. You just kind of attach yourself to a promising 
movie project and hope it goes somewhere. Eva Kolodner, 
however, is the rare exception to that rule. She cut her teeth 
as Christine Vachon's assistant at Killer Films, where she 
spent five years. She worked her way through the produc- 
ing hierarchy, putting in time on such indie all-stars as 
Kids, I Shot Andy Warhol, and Safe. In 1999, she developed 
Boys Don 't Cry with Kimberly Pierce. 

At that point, Kolodner decided she had learned 
enough from Vachon and was ready to move on to 
Madstone Films, where she could have her own stable of 
directors. It was there that she hired Yael Melamede as a 
production supervisor. Melamede had trained as an archi- 
tect at Yale, where both women also got their undergradu- 
ate degrees, though they did not know each other at the 
time. Melamede moved into the film industry in 1996, 
working extensively in post-production. 

At Madstone, Kolodner and Melamede, who are both in 
their early thirties, became close friends and creative allies. 
"We got together every Friday for breakfast for six months 
and talked about starting our own entity," says Kolodner. 
"We just got more and more excited." 

They launched their partnership, Salty Features, in 
January 2003, and they premiered their first Salty film at 
Sundance this year, a movie called Evergreen. 

Though both women relish their newfound creative 
independence, neither regrets their time at bigger, more 
established production outfits. And while neither 
Kolodner nor Melamede feel that gender plays a signifi- 
cant role in either their artistic or business choices, they 
both hope they can act as mentors to women coming up 
the ranks. "Just by looking more seriously at female 
directors, we're already the exception, not the rule," says 
Kolodner. D 

Elizabeth Angel! is a New York based freelance writer. 



March 2004 | The Independent 43 




FOUR FEMALE DOC-MAKERS DISCUSS REMAINING 
LOYAL TO THEIR SUBJECTS AND THEMSELVES 

By Nancy Schwartzman 



These days, if you're a woman making a film abouc 
women, the odds are very often stacked against 
you- even more so if you choose topics that are 
"unpleasant." like race. sex. gender, or violence. And 
if you weave your own story of gender, race, discnminadon, or 
sexual violence into these larger narratives, you put yourself 
on the line emotionally and get blamed for delivering the bad 
news. 

For this piece. I asked four women filmmakers with films in 
vanous stages of progress to describe in their own words what 
it's like to tackle "unpleasant" topics in their work, while 
remaining loval to themselves and the stories thev are telling. 



Aishah Shahidah Simmons, NO! (In-Progress) 

Aishah Shahidah Simmon* r forthcoming film, NO!, a nine year work- 
in-progress, examines the issue of intra-raaal rape in the African 
American community from the perspective of a black feminist lesbian. 
Shahidah sprei nous work includes two shorts, Silence Broken and In 
My Father's House, both of which explore the subjects of race, misog- 
yny, and homophobia. 

Since she began production on NO!, the Philadelphia-based 
Shahidah, herself a rape survivor, has spent weeks at a time touting the 
United States and Europe, visiting universities, churches, and commu- 
nity groups in order to help educate people on the issue of intra-raaal 
rape. 



44 The Independent | March 2004 




I am a survivor of rape who knows too many black women 
and girls who are victims/survivors of incest, rape, sexual 
assault, and other forms of violence. I made NO! because there 
is a collective silence in the non-monolithic black community 
when black women and girls are raped or sexually assaulted by 
black men and boys. I 
believe that intra-racial 
rape and sexual assault 
against women and girls 
perpetrated in the black 
community are issues that 
must be addressed locally 
and nationally in the black 
community by members of 
the black community. 

The number one obsta- 
cle [in making the film] has 
been, and continues to be, 
funding. I could write a 
treatise on ageism, racism, 
sexism, and homophobia— 
they've all been used to 
silence me— but economic 
censorship is the name of 

the game, even among the so-called "allies!" I was told that I 
cannot be an objective filmmaker because I am a survivor of 
rape. The director of a major cable network told me that most 
people don't care about the rape of black women and girls. I've 
had potential hinders say to me that given I'm a lesbian— 
what's my axe to grind? 

I had one prominent black hinder write in a grant rejection 
letter to me that the film has "a strong point of view and the 
concept is good, however, the example of Mike Tyson and the 
indifference from the black community might be due, in part, 
to the moral point of view that one does not go to a 
man's room in the early morning. That opinion cannot be 
ignored . . ." The safest subjects for the black community to 
address in film are those that deal with slaver}' and race, and 
the favorite filmmakers are those that can be controlled. I'm a 
loose canon— I'm a feminist and a lesbian trying to challenge 
more than just race. 

The most common stereotype [in society at large] is the 
black male rapist who rapes white women. Historically, this 
racist stereotype resulted in countless lynchings and murders 
of innocent black men. Yes, it is true that black men rape and 
sexually assault white women. However, the overwhelming 
majority of black men are raping black women. I hope that 
NO! will help to put intra-racial sexual violence on national 
and local agendas everywhere, and that it will also help move 
people beyond discussion to concrete action that will end all 



Facing page: Anat Zuria's Purity. This page: filmmaker 
Aishah Shahidah Simmons. 



forms of violence against women and girls. And in the nine 
years that I've been on the road with NO! in an effort to raise 
money and raise awareness in order to finish the film and get 
it out in the world, I have begun to notice a slow increase of 
resources that specifically address rape and sexual assault in 
the black community, and that more and more black women 
are willing to speak out. 

Because of my deep and profound concern about how- 
black men are portrayed in the media, at times I feel like I'm 
walking a tightrope with NO!— I often find myself enraged by 
the inherent racism of the media and its detrimental role in 
not just the lives of black men, but in the lives of black women, 
too. So I have to be careful how I treat black men in my work. 
But my overall goal with the film, and in my general commit- 
ment to activism, is to encourage black people to fight against 
sexism in all of its violent manifestations. 

Grace Poore, The Children We Sacrifice (2000) 

There is perhaps no topic more taboo than incest. Few subjects make 
people more uncomfortable, more disgusted, more self-righteous, and 
more fearful, than incest. There is also no crime more universal. The 
Children We Sacrifice, a three-year-old film by Grace Poore, which 
was shot in India, Sri Lanka, Canada, and the United States, is still 
prevalent and powerful today, and offers an unflinching look into the 
incestuous sexual abuse of South Asian girls. 

A native of Malaysia and a tireless activist of various social issues on 
an international level, Poore runs her film production company, 
Shakti Productions, out of Silver Spring Maryland. She has lived in the 
United States for twenty years. 

With this film I wanted to confront the many layers of 
social and cultural resistance to dealing with incest in the 
South Asian community— there's denial that incest happens 
in the South Asian community, there's denial that it occurs in 
educated South Asian families, there's denial that it is a wide- 
spread problem, and there's denial that it causes long-term 
harm or that young children will remember the abuse when 
they become adults. These layers of denial contribute to the 
silencing that shrouds the sexual abuse of children within 
their spheres of safety. I also wanted to address the gap 
between the number of South Asian women who are willing 
to speak out against all kinds of injustices— from economic 
oppression to police brutality to racism to homophobia— and 
the number of women who are silent about their own sexual 
abuse suffered as children. 

I wanted the video to provide a forum for women to share 
their stories— a place where they could choose to be in front of 
the camera, off camera, in shadow, facing the camera, or with 
their backs turned. The point was to haw South Asian women 
convey to a South Asian audience that the problem of incest is 
happening to us, within our own homes, by people we know 
and love and respect. And pretending that it doesn't happen 
allows the abusers to carry on unchecked. 



March 2004 | The Independent 45 



In making and presenting the film, I have been met with 
various oppositions. I have experienced resentment from 
some people who feel the documentary focuses too much on 
middle and upper middle class families, and who believe that 
incest mostly happens in rural communities and poor fami- 
lies. These are concerns that I believe are based on myth, 
denial, and classist stereotypes. But the most surprising oppo- 




sition has come from South Asian fathers with young daugh- 
ters. Some of these fathers assume that the video was putting 
out a message that men should not touch their girl children, 
and that all girl children will inevitably become victims of sex- 
ual abuse. In my opinion, this perception is driven by panic 
because they feel threatened— the film challenges them as 
fathers, as well as challenging their ideas about what consti- 
tutes both safety and abuse. The film made these fathers face 
the real possibility of not being able to protect their children. 
And instead of asking how to help protect them, they pre- 
ferred to reject the video as a whole and get angry with me for 
making them feel helpless and vulnerable. 

The most difficult conflict came from some of the South 
Asian service-providers who work with battered women, and 
who felt that the video unfairly blames mothers who did not 
or could not protect their daughters from incest. I find this 
reaction interesting because I took great pains to not make it 
seem that I was holding mothers responsible for failure to 
protect their daughters, and I tried to bring depth to the issue 
of guardianship by looking at it from different points of view. 
But these people didn't even want to raise the question about 
a mother's responsibility because they feel that battered 
women cannot be held accountable for actions that damage 
someone else. This position is problematic because it reduces 
battered women to 100 percent victims incapable of acting in 
defense of those more powerless than them. And perhaps 
more importantly, it negates the need to identify and remove 
the barriers that keep women from being interventionists. 

Some older generation South Asian immigrants living in 
the United States were concerned about how the community 
would look in the film to non-South Asians, and that existing 



negative stereotypes would worsen. For that reason, I added a 
statement at the end of the documentary to remind viewers 
that while this video chooses to focus on the South Asian 
community, incest cuts across all races and cultures. The fact 
that this statement was even necessary speaks to how racism 
adds another reason for communities of color to bury this 
issue and avoid dealing with it. 

I made this film to give a voice to those adult survivors who 
have suffered in silence, to raise awareness about the long-term 
effects of this kind of abuse, and to provide parents and fami- 
lies with some sense of what to look out for in terms of map- 
propnate adult-child behavior. Opposition or no opposition. 

See www.echosoul.com for info on NO! and The Children We Sacrifice. 



Anat Zuria, Purity (2002) 

In Purity, Israeli filmmaker Anat Zuria examines the role ofTharat 
Hamishpaha (ancient laws of family purity) in the lives and sexual 
identities of women in the Orthodox Jewish community. Zuria, a 
mother of five children who lives in Jerusalem, is herself an Orthodox 
Jew. According to her culture and Jewish law, among the last things 
she should be doing is makingfilms. But with no background in film, 
and no money to finance a project, Zuria says Purity was an impor- 
tant experiment. It is an experiment that has since gone on to win sev- 
eral awards in Jerusalem and many other international festivals. 

Purity is a film that combines two points of view— the inner 
point of view, because I am part of these rituals and laws, and 
an outsider's point of view, because I am more loyal to my free- 
dom and independence than to my responsibilities as a reli- 
gious Jewish woman. 

When I first started this film, the topic of Tharat 
Hamishpaha was not talked about or filmed in my culture. It 
was completely taboo. I'm part of the Orthodox religious 
community and the rituals are designed and taught to you in 
the Orthodox way— by men. We were told that there are cer- 
tain laws of the female body, and that we do not design the 
laws for ourselves. 

I made this film from a very lonely place. 
People in Israel told me this was not a universal subject or a 
"real" topic. Meanwhile, every time I screen the film, I am 

flooded by 

women who tell 
me about their 
culture's purity 
rituals— millions 
of Indians, 

Asians, and 

Muslims observe 
similar prac- 
tices! My reli- 
gious communi- 
ty insists that in 




46 The Independent | March 2004 



order to be considered a "good Jewish woman," there is only 
one way to relate to the religion's rituals— and that way is to 
accept them as wonderful. Surprisingly, a lot of the antago- 
nism I experienced came from religious women who placed 
the blame on me for pointing out their own unhappiness. As 
far as support— I had to starve to make this film. It seems that 
"women's issues" are not considered important in Israel. Wars 
are what are important. But had I not made this film, I would 
have betrayed myself, and others who have felt abused by these 
laws. 

Since the film came out, support group dialogues about 
women and women's identities have started to happen more 
often, and these dialogues are empowering the religious com- 
munity to deal with issues openly. Many rabbis saw the film 
and had to talk about it— they felt they couldn't ignore it any- 
more. 

This was my first film. It was an experiment. And this is 
only the beginning. I'm working on a trilogy, each film's sub- 
ject is explored within the context of the Orthodox Jewish 
community in Israel— Purity is the first, the next will be about 
divorce, and the final film will look at motherhood. 

Ebtisam Mar'aana, Paradise Lost (2003) 

Paradise Lost, a film by Arab Israeli filmmaker Ebtisam Mar'aana, 
is a poignant look at issues of national identity and womanhood with- 
in the limitations of a traditional Arab village called, in Arabic, 
Fareidis, and in English, Paradise. The film marks Mar' anna's debut 
effort as a film director, and despite the difficulties this process brought 
about, she still calls the village of Fareidis/ Paradise her home. 

Every step of my filmmaking process there was opposition. 
The problem is not with the Palestinians or the Israelis, but the 
number one problem is being a woman in the Arab communi- 
ty. My problems started at home when I asked my mother and 
father a simple question. I realized then that it is not the ques- 
tion that matters, it is the difficulty in accepting a woman ask- 
ing questions. As an adult, nothing surprises me; I live in a dif- 
ficult situation all the time. Being a filmmaker has never been 
easy. It started off difficult and then became more painful. 

It is so difficult to express myself— I was always tested by my 
family and the people around me. It is impossible to clearly 
define myself when my family and my village can swallow me 
up. People are eager to categorize me. If I am an Arab woman 
I am supposed to get married, have children, and stay home. 
When I leave the Arab community the Israelis label me as less 
qualified, less talented, and less open-minded. People are 
shocked that I am Muslim, and they label me a feminist. I am 
not a feminist! 

If I call myself a feminist or someone calls me a feminist, 



Facing Page: (left to right) Grace Poore's The Children We 
Sacrifice; filmmaker Anat Zuria. This page: filmmaker 
Ebtisam Maraana, Paradise Lost. 



then I am supposed to behave in a certain way. In these cate- 
gories there is no room for a complicated identity. As an Arab 
woman director, I am supposed to have a clear, radical, and 
opinionated film. I am a Palestinian filmmaker so I should be 
waving the flag throughout my film. But I am a Palestinian, I 
am an Israeli, I am a woman, I come from a village— there are 
so many factors. 

I did not want to be naive and think that this film will 
change the world or solve the conflict. But I did want to raise 
awareness within my family and my community. Since the 
film, my family and I can live in harmony together in the vil- 
lage. My mother and I are so different [Ebtisam's mother is a 
devout Muslim], but now we understand and accept each 
other. It is not just that she understands me, but now I can 
accept her way. 

I was loyal to myself and to others in making this film, and 
that is why I am not afraid of anybody. I was honest. I did not 
betray anybody. By making this film, I proved to my mother 




and father that I can break through the barriers that they told 
me I could never break through. 

I'd love to travel the Arab world [with the film], but having 
an Israeli passport doesn't help me at all! The film did show in 
Cairo, but my producer didn't have money to fly me there! An 
Egyptian producer that we had met in Europe took a big risk 
by showing this film. It was almost censored, but the audience 
responded very emotionally to it. Amsterdam didn't take the 
film because they said it was too pro-Israeli, and the Arte chan- 
nel in France didn't take it because they said it was too pro- 
Palestinian. 

I lose because I am in the middle. D 

See www.wmm.com for info on Purity and Paradise Lost. 

Nancy Schwartzman is a documentary filmmaker currently 

working on a film about Jewish-on-Jewish violence and restorative justice in 
cases of rape. She is Creative Director of Heeb Magazine. 



March 2004 | The Independent 47 




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policy 



Courting Public Funds 

HOW AND WHY TO APPEAL FOR ARTS FUNDING 
By Matt Dunne 



The past few years have been 
challenging ones for the 
arts. Private foundation 
grants have dried up along 
with the economy, and wealthy 
patrons of the arts have become much 
more conservative with their 
resources. For many in the arts com- 
munity, the advent of a Republican- 
controlled White House and 
Congress, and state budgets flowing 
with red ink, seemed a sure harbinger 



Arts Agencies, gave out over $700,000 
to film projects last year. "All we are 
doing is responding to a strong indie 
community." 

Now, more than ever, public fund- 
ing for the arts makes up a crucial 
piece of the funding pie. This fund- 
ing comes in many forms— direct 
support for particular projects, sup- 
port for festivals, support for distri- 
bution vehicles (PBS), and support 
for industry communication and 



councils on the whole have had to 
reduce expenditures by nearly twenty- 
three percent from last year, also 
reported from the NASAA. 

The good news, though, is that a 
closer look at the numbers reveals 
wide discrepancies in spending 
between states. There isn't really a 
correlation between states in budget 
crisis and states that have slashed 
funding for the arts. The correla- 
tion is between states that have level 
funding or increased spending and 
states that have strong advocacy for 
the arts. 

While California has slashed spend- 
ing for the arts, taking a nearly eighty- 
seven percent cut, states like Indiana 
and Illinois have basically maintained 




When thinking about how to get some of this 
money into your community, realize that film and 
politics can go hand in hand. 



of funding Armageddon. Add to that 
the budget crises taking place in 
almost every state in the union, and a 
lot of creative artists were getting 
ready to close up shop. 

But instead of the Armageddon 
that those in the arts were expecting, 
the real picture has been much more 
complicated. There have been win- 
ners, and what they all have in com- 
mon is their willingness to advocate 
for themselves and to look for new 
opportunities in unexpected places. 
In short, don't assume the 
Republicans are your enemy, and 
don't assume you have to be in New 
York or LA to secure public funds. 

"Over the past 30 years, filmmakers 
have created a community of advo- 
cates for making media accessible to 
everyone," says Encarnacion Teruel, 
Acting Director of Visual Arts, Media 
Arts, and Multidisciplinary Arts at the 
Illinois Arts Council, which, accord- 
ing to the National Assembly of State 



idea sharing (including this maga- 
zine). As for where this money comes 
from, there are three main sources of 
funding: The National Endowment 
for the Arts, a government agency 
that funnels federal dollars to groups 
and projects around the country; The 
National Endowment for the 
Humanities; and state arts councils 
which award grants to artists work- 
ing in the state. 

For those artists smart enough to 
go after public funds, there's good 
news and bad news. 

The bad news is that many states 
faced with budgetary crisis are choos- 
ing to cut arts council budgets and 
allocations for film and video. Arts 
councils across the country cut back 
funding for film and video by ten per- 
cent from 2001 to 2002, according to 
the most recent detailed data available 
from the National Assembly of State 
Arts Agencies (NASAA). And further 
cuts are virtually assured since arts 



level funding. More surprising, arts 
agencies in states including 
Connecticut and Maine even received 
double digit increases despite drastic 
reductions in overall state spending. 
The states that have increased spend- 
ing have strong communities of 
artists who have made the connection 
between a vibrant creative scene and a 
strong local economy. 

"We changed the way we do busi- 
ness," says Alden Wilson, Executive 
Director of the Maine Art Comm- 
ission. "We started collaborating direct- 
ly with communities and economic 
development teams. Folks recognized 
that we weren't going to attract large 
industrial employers, yet the mills were 
still closing. We pitched the importance 
of the creative economy and it resonat- 
ed across the business community." 

There's more good news on the 
national front. After hitting an all 
time funding low in 2000, the NEA 
has experienced consistent increases 



March 2004 | The Independent 49 



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over the last three years, including a 
nearly seventeen percent increase 
since the beginning of the Bush 
administration and a six percent 
increase expected for 2004 alone. 

Arts advocates across the country 
are beginning to realize that it isn't 
always Democrats who stand up for 
the arts. Republican members of 
Congress like Chris Shays of 
Connecticut and Jim Leach of Iowa 
should be commended for their work 
m increasing funding for the arts. 
Their efforts, and particularly the 
unexpected support from a 
Midwestern Republican like Leach, 
were critical to the success of the legis- 
lation that increased NEA funding. 
Film and video projects have fared 
very well under the Bush administra- 
tion and can be projected to do better 
with these increases. Despite a flat 
NEA budget from 2002 to 2003. film 
and video grants increased by nearly 
twentv-three percent. 

(The NEH also has been a constant 
hinder of film projects, although the 
amount of grants has varied over the 
last few years, and in 2003 hit a five- 
year low of S3. 2 million, dipping 
below NEA funding for film and video 
for the first time in years.) 

So what does all this mean for you? 

It means that now more than ever, 
film and video artists, and those who 
advocate for them, must become 
politically savvy in order to secure 
public funding for their work. 
Despite the cheering gains at the 
NEA. the states are still the best 
source of arts funding. They give out 
more money on an aggregate basis 
than the NEA, and they have tremen- 
dous capacity to give more, even in 
tough budgetary times. 

One way to get in the running is by 
building coalitions with like-minded 
artists. Advocacy groups that can sup- 
port Arts Council funding have been 
very successful. Indianans for the Arts, 
for example, pushed strongly for 
a "buck-a-hoosier" campaign to 
increase funding m the state to one 



dollar per capita. While they didn't 
quite reach their target, it did lead to a 
significant increase in the state arts 
council budget. 

When thinking about how to get 
some of this money into your com- 
munity, realize that film and politics 
can go hand in hand. As calculating 
as it sounds, there is an allure to film 
projects that will attract the interest 
of any politician. Having your state 
featured in a film— regardless of the 
size of the production or the film's 
audience— brings tourism and busi- 
ness dollars into the state. And the 
work of nationally recognized econo- 
mists now backs up what we've 
known all along, that the independ- 
ent film and video industry is good 
for economic development. 

Richard Florida's Rise of the Creative 
Class, and a new study by the National 
Research Council Committee on 
Information, Technology, and 
Creativity, quantifies the economic 
benefits to communities that support 
the arts. Read up on research in this 
area and learn to talk to your state leg- 
islators and community leaders about 
the economic importance of a film 
industry. Find out what other states 
have done and suggest new models for 
funding the arts in your own state. 
The National Association of State 
Arts Agencies (www.nasaa.org) can 
provide you with comparisons of 
funding between states, as well as lots 
of other information. 

Most importantly, put yourself on 
the radar screen of those who are mak- 
ing the decisions. If you can stave off 
cuts during difficult budgetary times 
by staying in touch with your elected 
representatives, you'll be at the top of 
the list for funding when times are 
better. Look also to the new NEA 
funds for further opportunities. A 
large percentage of the new funds will 
go to support the Challenge America 
program. The program targets regions 
of the country that do not have a lot 
of arts activitv. Filmmakers and video 
producers who are working with 



50 The Independent | March 2004 



underserved populations will have 
more success in securing funding 
than they have in the past. 

Coalition building works at the 
federal level as well. The NEA tends 
to prefer to support organizations 
that can fund the work of many film- 
makers, hence its affinity for film 
festivals. Explore opportunities to 
partner with other professionals and 
organizations that can provide 
resources and economies of scale 
that support a large number of pro- 
fessionals (space, equipment, train- 
ing, presentation, distribution). And 
if you're lucky enough to get some 
NEA money, make sure to reach out 
to the Congressman or Senator who 
helped you get it— even if he or she is 
a Republican who you don't natural- 
ly think of as a patron of the arts. 
Invite him or her to a screening or to 
visit the set. Stay in touch with his or 
her office and send notices about 
honors or awards made possible 
through the grant. 

Remember that 2004 is an election 
year. Political candidates want the 
support of the arts community. Use 
that to your advantage by pressing 
presidential candidates and Members 
of Congress to support projects that 
will affect their district. 

So as you read the dire stories 
about cuts in funding for the arts, 
don't despair. The public funding 
universe offers lots of new opportuni- 
ties, but independent filmmakers 
have to learn how to advocate for 
themselves. The money's there, it's 
just a question of making a case (per- 
haps in a new economic development 
framework) that investment in inde- 
pendent film and video is in the best 
interest of all Americans. D 

National Arts Advocacy Day is March 31. 
See www.americansforthearts.org 

Matt Dunne is the Democratic state senator of 
Vermont, and the founder of Vermont Film 

Commission. Previously, he served two-and-a- 
half years as National Director of AmeriCorps 
VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and 

four terms as a Vermont state representative. 





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legal 



The Name Actor 
Negotiation 



By Robert L. Seigel 



In an ever-growing and competi- 
tive marketplace, independent 
producers and directors are rec- 
ognizing that a solid script and 
good performances are often only the 
starting points when producing a 
motion picture feature. To break 
through the clutter of independent 
projects produced each year, film- 
makers are beginning to acknowledge 
the economic need for casting name 
talent in a project. Name talent can 
make the difference in whether a 
project is funded at all, and if funded, 
how it will be marketed and distrib- 
uted. 

For the purposes of this article, 
there should be an assumption that 
filmmakers will be engaging the serv- 
ices of name performers who are 
members of the Screen Actors Guild 
(SAG) or other performers unions, 
and will explore the various union 
programs for lower budgeted proj- 
ects. For example, SAG's programs 
include Experimental, Limited 
Exhibition Agreement, Modified 
Low Budget, and different forms of 
the Low Budget Agreement. 

For many talented actors, a role in 
an independent, low-budget project 
is an opportunity to play a role 
against type, or to play the lead rather 
than a supporting role. This is espe- 
cially true of women, who are often 
limited in the quality and quantity of 
roles found in studio financed fea- 
tures—although many actresses have 
found that working in both inde- 
pendent and studio projects is the 
perfect balance. Earlier this year, at 
the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, evi- 
dence of such a balance was in effect 
with several well-known actresses, 
who are also better recognized for 
their more commercial work, appear- 



ing in lead film roles— Mary Louise 
Parker (The Best Thief in the World), 
Courtney Cox-Arquette (November), 
Laura Dern (We Don't Live Here 
Anymore), and Elizabeth Perkins 
(Speak). 

Before filmmakers pick up the tele- 
phone or start writing queries to 
name performers and their represen- 
tatives, they should establish certain 
basic economic parameters concern- 
ing their project, and prepare a budg- 
et to ascertain how much money is 
required to take a project from pre- 
production through principal pho- 
tography, and post-production up to 



Filmmakers should also prepare a 
payment and repayment schedule that 
takes into account factors such as the 
satisfaction of liens from entities like 
unions and laboratory facilities; 
repayment of loans— investors' 
recoupment of funds and payment of 
a premium (e.g., ten to thirty percent; 
any finishing fund scenarios; the pay- 
ment of deferments and the allocation 
of profit participation by the project's 
investors and production team, cast, 
crew, and other third party profit par- 
ticipants). These schedules should 
indicate if there are any limitations on 
the amount of loans and deferments 
permitted under the project's finan- 
cial parameters, and what the proce- 
dure would be to alter those limita- 
tions (e.g., producers' consent and the 
consent of all or perhaps a majority in 
interest of the project's investors). 

Unless filmmakers establish the 



For many talented actors, a role in an 
independent, low-budget project is an 
opportunity to play a role against type. 



the project's final format. This 
process is especially important if a 
filmmaker acknowledges that a proj- 
ect will not likely be financed and 
"packaged" through a studio, a for- 
eign sales agent, or such "end users" 
as cable services and home 
video/DVD companies (which is 
more the exception than the rule in 
producing these projects). In evaluat- 
ing a project's budget, filmmakers 
should take into consideration and 
discuss with their legal and financial 
advisors not only how much funding 
a project will require, but also the 
manner of financing used for a proj- 
ect—private equity, loans and/or 
deferments for cast, crew, and other 
third parties. When determining the 
methods of financing, filmmakers 
should establish how much and in 
what order the various parties will be 
paid and/or repaid. 



project's financial foundation with 
some degree of flexibility, they may 
discover that their negotiations with 
performers and their representatives 
will drive and alter the project's eco- 
nomic parameters, causing a project's 
budget to balloon and filmmakers to 
raise their budget and cash repayment 
schedules often to the detriment of 
the project's appropriate production 
scope and investors. For example, if a 
project's budget is less than $1 mil- 
lion, filmmakers may believe that they 
can offer SAG minimum plus ten per- 
cent to the performers' representa- 
tives—except for a name performer, 
who would be paid significantly more 
(e.g., $100,000-$250,000+). This strat- 
egy forces filmmakers to reconfigure a 
project's budget in a way that results 
in negative economic effects which 
also damages the "spirit" of the proj- 
ect, for which all are working at less 



March 2004 I The Independent 53 




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their usual races to begin with. 

Filmmakers have to determine who 
will be responsible for soliciting initial 
interest from performers and their 
representatives, and how negotiations 
will be conducted between the parties. 
Filmmakers may engage the services 
of a casting director, who often has 
pre-existing relationships with per- 
formers and their representatives. 
Depending on their reputation and 
resume, casting directors can lend 
credibility to a project. However, film- 
makers should be candid with their 
casting directors in regard to the proj- 
ects' budget, especially concerning 
monies allocated to cast. 

There should always be a clear line 
of communication between the film- 
maker and the project's casting direc- 
tor and attorney prior to and when 
soliciting interest from name per- 
formers. If it is the casting director 
who will be making the preliminary 
inquiry and approach to performer's 
representatives, then the terms of the 
initial proposal must be clear to all 
concerned parties (e.g., "start date,'" 
role, compensation, credit, length of 
the performer's working period, 
nature of performer's services which 
shall be required, etc.), and should 
also outline the casting director's 
authority within the limitation of the 
filmmaker's approval. 

When they are readv to make an 
offer to a performer, filmmakers 
should understand that it is custom- 
ary within the motion picture and tel- 
evision industry to make an offer to 
only one performer at a time for any 
given role. This matter of protocol is 
especially important since a filmmak- 
er or a casting director may have made 
inquiries to several performers' repre- 
sentatives to determine if their clients 
are available or interested in a role. 
The offer should include a date by 
which the performer's representative 
must respond regarding whether his 
or her client wishes to accept the offer 
and the role. Many filmmakers will 
make multiple offers concerning a 



role to different performers simulta- 
neously. If one or more performers or 
performers' representatives discover 
that a filmmaker has been making 
multiple offers, such performers and 
their representatives may become 
offended and withdraw the per- 
former's name from consideration. In 
an even worse case scenario, the film- 
maker's reputation and the project's 
progress may be damaged when other 
performers and their representatives 
learn about this practice. Filmmakers 
should make one offer at a time and 
be prepared to withdraw the offer if a 
performer's representative does not 
accept the offer in a timely manner or 
attempts to alter the offer by making 
it subject to certain conditions such as 
knowing who will be hired to play 
another role in the project. 

Assuming that a filmmaker and a 
performer's representative can work 
out the scheduling logistics for when 
a performer would be available to ren- 
der services on a project, the parties 
are ready to begin to negotiate the kev 
terms for securing the services of a 
name performer. The major deal 
points include compensation and its 
various forms— fixed or upfront 
monies, deferments, and profit partic- 
ipation. Besides the compensation 
issue, one of the most significant 
issues in talent negotiations is a per- 
former's credit, while other issues 
include a performer's travel and 
accommodation arrangements, and 
dressing facilities: how performers 
will deal with the selection of hair, 
make-up, and wardrobe personnel: 
dubbing and doubling; restrictions 
and approvals concerning the use of a 
performer's name, voice, or likeness 
concerning a project; and arrange- 
ments for a performer's attendance at 
a project's festival and/or commercial 
premieres. D 



Robert L Seigel (Rlsentlau@nol.com or 

rseigel@cdiis.com) is J Ni'C entertainment 

attorney and a partner in the law firm of 

Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams cir Sheppard LLP. 



54 The Independent | March 2004 



Festivals 

By Bo Mehrad 

Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement. We recommend that 
you contact the festival directly 
before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes 
to press. Deadline: 1st of the month 
two months prior to cover date (e.g., 
Sept. 1 st for Nov. issue). Include fes- 
tival dates, categories, prizes, entry 
fees, deadlines, formats & contact 
info. Send to: festivals@aivf.org. 



INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL 

LISTINGS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJklVF.ORG 



DOMESTIC 

AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, June 
14-18, FL Deadline: April 9 (features, docs); 
April 1 5 (shorts). The test (formerly Acapulco 
Black Film Festival) is a celebration of the 
cinematic work of Black filmmakers and 
artists, showcasing independent Black cine- 
ma from around the world. The fest, relocat- 
ing to the U.S. in June 2002, provides an 
intellectually charged environment to support 
independent filmmaking and to facilitate net- 
working among Black professionals in the 
flim industry. The fest offers panels, live 
entertainment, screenings of around 35 
shorts and features, live entertainment, and 
the Film Life Movie Awards, a gala event hon- 
oring independent films and Hollywood Black 
talent. Founded: 1997. Cats: Feature, Short, 
doc. Formats: 35mm. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $30. Contact: Festival, c/o Film Life, P.O. 
Box 688, New York, NY, USA 10012; (212) 
966-2411; fax: 966-2497; abff@thefilm 
life.com; www.abff.com 

BRIDGE FILM FESTIVAL, April 17, NY. 
Deadline: March 29. Featuring films by mid- 
dle- & upper school students at Quaker 
schools worldwide. The goal of the fest is to 
promote value-based filmmaking on topics 
that our children & communities grapple w/ 
regularly, such as integrity, non violence, 
social conscience & political justice. The fest 
is not looking for films about Quaker philos- 
ophy but rather films that depict Quaker 
ideals in action. From the participating 
schools, finalist films will be chosen & will be 
screened & awards are given based on both 
the quality of filmmaking & content. Entries 



may be up to 12 min. in length. Cats: doc, 
Nature, Comedy, Drama, Animation, music 
video, student, short. Preview on VHS 
(NTSC). Entry Fee: $50. Contact: Andy 
Cohen, 375 Pearl Street, Brooklyn, NY 
11201; (718) 852-1029; fax: 643-4868; 
acohen@brooklynfriends.org; www.brookly 
nfriends.org/bridgefilm/index.html. 

BROOKLYN INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, June 4- 
13, NY. Deadline: Nov. 15; March 15 (Final). 
Annual fest (formerly The Williamsburg 
Brooklyn Film Festival), held at the Brooklyn 
Museum of Art, incl. Q&A sessions, panel dis- 
cussions & live broadcast over the Internet. 
Founded: 1997. Cats: feature, doc, experi- 
mental, short, animation. Awards: $50,000 in 
services & cash. Formats: All formats accept- 
ed, 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2", S-VHS, Beta 
SP, super 8, 8mm, Hi8, DV, DVD, Beta, CD- 
ROM. Preview on VHS (non-returnable). 
Entry Fee: $30; $50 (final). Contact: Mario 
Pego, 1 80 South 4th St., Ste. 2 S„ Brooklyn, 
NY 11211; (718) 388-4306; fax: 599- 
5039; mario@wbff.org; www.wbff.org. 

CONNECTICUT GAY & LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL, June 4-12, CT. Deadline: March 
31 . Cats: feature, doc, short. Formats: 35mm. 
16mm, DVD, Video. Entry Fee: $10 (US); 
$15 (non US). Contact: Dan Millett, Film 
Alternatives, PO Box 231191, Harford, CT 
06123; (413) 618-9312; glff@yahoo.com; 
www.ctglff.org. 

DA VINCI FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 1 6- 
18, OR. Deadline: Jan. 15; Feb. 28; March 
30 Fest is looking for original works not 
exceeding 30 min. in length (documentaries 



category. Formats: film, video, digital. Preview 
on VHS (NTSC only). Entry Fee: 
college/indie $20, $35, $50; K-12 $10, 
$15, $20. Contact: Sue Queisser, 2015 SW 
Whiteside Drive, Corvallis, OR 97333; (541) 
752-5584 / 757-6363; fax: (541) 754- 
7590; davincifilmfest@aol.com; www.davin 
cidays.org/filmfestival. 

DANCING FOR THE CAMERA: INT'L FEST 
OF FILM & VIDEO DANCE, Jun. 10- Jul. 23, 
NC. Deadline: Mar. 1. Solicits dance-related 
work for juried public screenings at American 
Dance Festival, Durham, NC. Founded: 1996. 
Cats: doc, short, experimental, student. 
Preview on VHS. Fee: None. Contact: 
American Dance Festival, 1 697 Broadway, 
Rm. 900, NY, NY 10019; (212) 586-1925; 
fax: 397-1196; adfny@americandancefesti 
val.org; www.americandancefestival.org. 

GEOGRAPHIES OF IDENTITY FILM/VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, April 21, Hampshire College, 
Amherst MA. Deadline: March 20th (final). 
"Geographies of Identity: Contemporary 
Films of Migration and Diaspora" this film 
festival aims to present new, formally chal- 
lenging works on exile, migration and diaspo- 
ra. Festival seeks short film/video entries (30 
min. or less) all genres, all formats accepted. 
Non-competitive. Preview on VHS NTSC. 
Entry fee: $20 Contact: Veronika Bauer, 
Hampshire College, Box 698, Amherst MA 
01002-5001 ; vbauer@hampshire.edu 

HAWAII OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL, Spring, HI. 
Deadline: April 1. Fest features films about 
marine environment, ocean recreation & our 
cultural connections to the sea. Cats: tea- 



Hot Stuff 

Superstar docmaker Ken Burns calls the thir- 
teen-year-old Hot Springs Doc Fest "a guile- 
less festival." "There's no attitude here," he 
explains. "People come together. They're 
interested in the content of the films and in 
each other." Last year's festival screened over 
ninety films and continued its focus on education with the Middle School 
Screening Program and the technical workshop, CyberDocs. This year, the ten- 
day festival, hosted by The Hot Springs Documentary Institute, continues its mis- 
sion to increase awareness of this often under-appreciated genre. See listing. 



can only be a max of 50 min.) Submissions 
in three main cats: K-12, college & inde- 
pendent. Founded: 1988. Cats: short, any 
style or genre. Awards: Awards given in each 



ture, doc, short, student, youth media. Fee: 
$10 Meli Sandler, P.O. Box 1228, Hanalei, 
HI 96714; (808) 826-4581; h20film 
@yahoo.com; www.oceanfilmfest ival.com. 



March 2004 | The Independent 55 



festivals 



HOLLYWOOD FILM FESTIVAL. Oct. 12-18. 
CA. Deadline: March 31. Annual fest seeks to 
bridge the gap between emerging filmmak- 
ers & Hollywood. Founded: 1 997. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation. Awards: Winners 
get access to buyers, cash, & VIP passes . 
Formats: 16mm, 35mm. video. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $55. Contact: Carlos de 
Abreu, 433 N. Camden Dr., Ste. 600, Beverly 
Hills,, CA 90210: (310) 288-1882: fax:475- 
0193: email awards@hollywoodawards.com: 
www.hollywoodfestival .com. 

HOT SPRINGS DOC FILM FESTIVAL. Oct 
22-31, AR. Deadline: March 26; April 23 
(final). Annual fest accepting nonfiction film 
submissions for one of the country's premier 
nonfiction film celebrations. Noncompetitive 
fest honors films & filmmakers each yr. in 
beautiful Hot Springs Nafl Park, Arkansas. 
More than 85 films are screened, incl. the 
current year's Academy Award nominees in 
nonfiction cats. Special guest scholars, film- 
makers & celebrities participate in forums & 
lectures. Founded: 1 992. Cats: doc. Formats: 
35mm, 1 6mm, 1 /2" DVD, Beta Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Melanie 
Masino. HSDFI. 819 Central Ave. Hot 
Springs. AR 71901: (501) 321-4747: 
fax: 321-0211: hsdfi@docufilminst.org: 
www.docufilminstorg. 

HYPEFEST. July 23-25. CA. Deadline: Feb. 
16: April 1. Fest accepting short films (50 
min. or less), commercials, music videos & 
promos for competition screening. Only 
works completed in the current or previous yr. 
eligible. Cats: short, music video, commer- 
cials. Preview on VHS (NTSC) or DVD. Entry 
Fee: $20 (student w/ ID), $35; final: $45, 
$30 (student). Contact: Festival, 5225 
Wilshire Blvd., Suite 403 . Los Angeles, CA 
90036; (323) 938-8363: fax: 938-8757: 
info@hypefestcom: www.hypefestcom. 

INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL OF 
BOSTON. April 29-May 2. MA Deadline: Oct 
3 1 , Jan. 3 1 . March 1 . Fest was created to dis- 
cover unknown filmmakers, incl. students, 
first-timers, & int'l directors. Festival special- 
izes in films still seeking distribution. Cats: any 
style or genre, feature, doc. short, animation, 
experimental. Awards: Best Fiction Feature & 
Short, Best Doc Feature & Short, Festival 
Filmmaker. & Audience Choice. Formats: 
35mm. Beta Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$10-$45. Contact: Festival, 44 School Street 
PMB 385. Boston , MA 02108; (857)891- 
8693; info@iffboston.org; www.iff boston.org. 



INTERNATIONAL SURREALIST FILM 
FESTIVAL, April 1 1, NY. Deadline: March 26. 
All genres accepted. Panel of judges decide 
what is surreal and will send a written critique 
to all entrants regardless of acceptence. Live 
organist will be present for silent films, if film- 
maker desires. Founded: 1989. Cats: any 
style or genre, feature, short Awards: Grand 
prize of A 16mm Bolex film camera Prizes 
and categories will be decided after judges 
see all films.. Formats: 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". S- 
8, Mini DV. super 8, DV. Hi8 Preview on VHS 
or DVD. Entry Fee: $35. Contact: Paul F 
Yates. Box 10718. Stamford. CT 06904: 
(203)425-9809: oniongod@ix.netcom.com; 
www.oniongod.com 

LUNAFEST September-October, CA. 
Deadline: April 30. Fest seeks films by 
women, for women, or about women. Areas 
of interest can incl. culture, diversity of peo- 
ple, adventure, sports, the environment spiri- 
tuality, inspiration, challenges, relationships & 
breaking barriers. Program will tour up to 1 00 
venues. Proceeds from fest will benefit The 
Breast Cancer Fund to assist their efforts to 
promote awareness & education of womens' 
health. Films should be no longer than 40 
min.. Cats: short, doc, feature, student family, 
animation. Awards: Cash prizes. Formats: 
Beta, S-VHS. 1/2'. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $25 made payable to The Breast 
Cancer Fund. Contact: Allison Levy, c/o Clif 
Bar, 1610 5th St. Berkeley, CA 94710; alii 
son@aspiringheights.com; www.lunabar.com. 

MADCAT WOMEN'S INTL FILM FESTIVAL 
Sept. CA. Deadline: March 29: May 21 (final). 
MadCat showcases innovative & challenging 
works from around the globe. Fest features 
experimental, avant garde & independent 
works by women of all lengths & genres. 
Works can be produced ANY year. It is the 
fest's goal to expand the notion of women's 
cinema beyond the limitations of films about 
traditional women's issues. Founded: 1996. 
Cats: any style or genre. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, super 8, Beta SP, 3/4". 1/2", Mini DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $ 1 0-$30 (sliding 
scale, pay what you can afford; int'l entrants 
disregard entry fee). Contact: Festival, 639 
Steiner St . San Francisco. CA 941 1 7; (415) 
436-9523: fax: 934-0642: info@madcat 
filmfestival.org: www.madcatfilmfestival.org. 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL. June 16-20. 
MA. Deadline: April 16 (film): March 19 
(screenplay competition). Fest focuses on 
screenwriters & their craft, presents feature 
films, short films, docs, staged readings. Q&A 



w/ filmmakers, panel discussions, the 
'Morning Coffee Wth" series, Late Night 
Storytelling, Teen's View on NFF Program & 
NBC Screenwriter's Tribute. Fest's goal is to 
'foster a creative film industry community of 
screenwriters, filmmakers, directors & pro- 
ducers where partnerships are formed & 
deals are made." Cats: any style or genre, 
script, short, feature. Awards: Tony Cox 
Award for Screenwriting Competition, Moby 
Dick Award for Best Screenwriting in a 
Feature Film & Short Film, Audience Awards 
for Best Feature & Short Film, Best 
Storytelling in a Doc Feature & Teen's View 
on NFF Short Film Award. Formats: 35mm, 
Video, Beta SP. DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $40 (features); $25 (shorts. 35 min. or 
less); $15 (5 min or less). Contact: , 1633 
Broadway, Ste. 14-334, New York, NY 
10019; (212) 708-1278; ackfest@aol.com; 
www.nantucketfilmfestival.org. 

NEW JERSEY INTL FILM FESTIVAL, June & 
July, NJ. Deadline: April 2. Annual fest show- 
cases the best in independent film & video, fea- 
turing premiere screenings of award-winning 
works, seminars, panels discussions & guest 
appearances. Max. film age is 24 months, no 
repeat entries. Founded: 1996. Cats: anima- 
tion, short, expenmental, feature, doc, any style 
or genre, children, family, youth media student 
music video. Awards: Over $4,000 in cash & 
pnzes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 3/4". Beta SP, 
Hi8, 1/2". S-VHS. DV, DVD. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $35-$65. Contact: Rutgers Film Co- 
op/NJMAC. 72 Lipman Dnve, New Brunswick, 
NJ 08901: (732) 932-8482: fax: 932-1935: 
njmac@aol.com: www.njfilmfestcom. 

NEW YORK INT'L LATINO FILM FESTIVAL. 
July, NY. Deadline: March 5. Festival presents 
the works of Latino artists & people of Latin 
American descent The fests goal is to 'braid 
together Latinos in Hollywood & independent 
film industry, along w/ aficionados & students 
of film & the arts." Founded: 2000. Cats: 
Feature. Doc, Short, Student. Formats: 35mm. 
16mm, Video. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$20. Contact: Festival. PO Box 72. New York, 
NY 10023: (212) 726-2358: fax: 307-7445: 
info@nylatinofilm.com; or see the website at 
www.nylati nofilm.com. 

OCEAN CITY FILM FESTIVAL June 3-6. NJ. 
Deadline: Jan. 1 ; April 1 (final). Fest offers film- 
makers 50% of ticket sales. Cats: feature, doc, 
short animation, student Preview on VHS. Fee: 
$25-$50. P.O. Box 1 839. Absecon. NJ 08201 : 
(609) 646-1640; admin@oceancityfilmfesti 
val.com: www.oceancityfilmfestival.com. 



56 The Independent | March 2004 



OUTFEST: THE LOS ANGELES GAY & 
LESBIAN FILM FESTIVAL, July 8-19, CA. 
Deadline: Jan. 30; March 1 2 (final). The mis- 
sion of Outfest is fo "build bridges among 
audiences, filmmakers & the entertainment 
industry through the exhibition of high-quali- 
ty gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender 
themed films & videos, highlighted by an 
annual test, that enlighten, educate & enter- 
tain the diverse communities of Southern 
California". Fest also offers a weekly screen- 
ing series yr. round, as well as a screenwrit- 
ing lab. Founded: 1982. Cats: Feature, Doc, 
Short, Animation, Experimental, script. 
Formats: 35mm, 1 6mm, 3/4", 1 /2", Beta SR 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: Features (over 
60 mm.): $25, $35 (final); Shorts: $1 5 , $25 
(final); Screenwriting Lab $25 (1/31 only). 
Contact: Festival, 3470 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 
1022, Los Angeles, CA 90010; (213)480- 
7088; fax: 480-7099; programming@out 
fest.org; www.outfest.org. 

PHILADELPHIA VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 26- 
27, PA. Deadline: April 1 5; April 26 (final). No 
media shot on film will be accepted; works 
must be shot on video or digital video. Founded: 
2003. Cats: feature, doc, music video, anima- 
tion, experimental, short Formats: DVD, 1/2". 
Preview on VHS or Mini-DV Entry Fee: $25; 
$35. Contact: Festival, 19 Lawrence Ave, 
Barrington, NJ 08007; mike@phillyvideo 
fest.com; www.phillyvide ofest.com. 

REAL TO REEL FILM FESTIVAL, July 22- 
24. Deadline: March 30, April 30 (final). 
Fest encourages Independent film artists 
of all genres & skill levels to submit their 
work to this int'l competition, which allows 
students, amateurs & professionals a 
chance to exhibit their work. Founded: 
2000. Cats: doc, short, animation, feature, 
student. Awards: Best of show in all cats. 
Formats: 1/2", DVD. Entry Fee: $35 (over 
the age of 18) $15 (18 & under); Late: 
$50 (over 18) $25 (18 & under). Contact: 
Paul Foster, Cleveland County Arts 
Council,, 1 1 1 S. Washington St., Shelby , 
NC 28150; (704)484-2787; fax: (704) 
481-1822; ccarts@shelby.net; www.real 
toreelfest.com. 

RESOLUTIONS, Oct. 22-24, NY. Deadline: 
April 5; May 3 (final). Fest celebrates 
Hallwalls' return to downtown Buffalo w/ a 
focus on original media & performance work 
that highlights the experimental & resolutely 
unique. Cats: short, installation, online. 
Awards: Most Resolute Award. Formats: 
16mm, DVD, CD-ROM, DV-cam, Web. 



Preview on VHS, mini-DV, DVD. Entry Fee: 
$10; $20 (final). Contact: Joanna 
Raczynska, Hallwalls, 2495 Main St. Ste. 
425, Buffalo, NY 14214; joanna@hall 
walls.org; www.hal lwalls.org. 

ROUGE TALENT FILM FESTIVAL, May 28- 

30, UT. Deadline: April 1. Founded: 2004. 
Cats: feature, short, doc, experimental, any 
style or genre. Formats: 35mm, Beta SP, 
DigiBeta. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: 
$15 shorts; $25 features. Contact: Adam 
Smoot, P.O. Box 1 50205, Ogden, UT 8441 5; 
(661) 755-9631; roguetalentff@msn.com. 

RURAL ROUTE FILM FESTIVAL, July (dates 
TBA), NY. Deadline: March 25. Festival has 
been created to highlight works that deal w/ 
rural people & places. Works that incl. alter- 
native country, country western & folk music 
are encouraged. Founded: 2002. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation, experimental. 
Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm, Beta, mini-DV, DVD. 
preview on VHS (NTSC). Entry Fee: $15 
shorts; $35 features. Contact: Alan Webber, 
PO Box 3900, Grand Central Station, New 
York, NY 10163; (718) 389-4367; film 



fest@ruralroutefilms.com; www.ru ral route 
films.com. 

SAN ANTONIO UNDERGROUND FILM 
FESTIVAL, June 25-27, TX. Deadline: April 
23; April 30 (final). Fest w/ a "light hearted" 
seeks features & shorts out of the main- 
stream. Cats: any style or genre, doc, short, 
feature. Awards: Grand Prize: Lowrider 
Bicycle!. Formats: VHS. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $20; $30 (late). Contact: Adam 
Rocha, 8030 Callaghan Rd. #61 1 PMB, San 
Antonio, TX 78230; (210) 977-9004; 
info@safilm.com; www.safilm.com. 

SEATTLE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, May 20- 

June 1 3, WA. Deadline: March 1 . SIFF is the 
largest film fest in the US, presenting more 
than 200 features & 80 short films to an 
audience of over 1 50,000 filmgoers each 
year. Fest is one of five N. American film fests 
in which presentation will qualify a film w/out 
distribution for submission to the 
Independent Spirit awards. Founded: 1976. 
Cats: feature, doc, short. Awards: Best 
American Independent Film, Best New 
Director (Int'l), Best Short Film & audience- 



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March 2004 | The Independent 57 




■ 

v I'VRK. Gl 

- .- : » - 

Co-praemttaJ tg Ai.a.mo DBAFTHOUSE 
The Mt'SKUM •■• fim. arts, Houston 

mJ Hick Midia CENTER 

Mttua Arvrteolagy is underu-ritton bit 

Texas Commission on the Arts. 

Ndiional Endowmeni for the Arts. 

anJ The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts. Inc. 



FOB TICKETS AND INFORMATION CALL 



ob visit www.anrorapictureshow.org 



based Golden Space Needle, given for fea- 
ture film, director, actress, actor, doc. & 
shorts. Formats: 35mm. 16mm. Beta, .Beta 
SR DigiBeta Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry 
Fee: $45 (20 mm. or less): $55 (21 mm. to 
49 min.): $75 (50 min. or more). Contact: 
Cinema Seattle. 400 9th Ave N, Seattle. WA 
98109: (206) 264-7919: fax: 264-7919: 
info@seattlefilm.com: or see the website 
www.seattlefilm.com. 

SHRIEKFEST FILM FESTIVAL. Oct. 11-12. 
CA. Deadline: March 12; May 28: July 23 
(final). Shriekfest. the annual Los Angeles 
Horror Film Festival at Raleigh Studios in 
Hollywood. The fest focuses on horror films 
& the work of filmmakers 18 & under. The 
fest "screens the best independent horror 
films of the year." Cats: feature, doc (about 
the horror genre), short, script. Young 
Filmmaker (under 18), youth media Awards: 
Best Young Filmmaker: Best Film; Fan 
Favorite: Scariest Film; Best Screenplay: 
Best Make-up: Best FX. Entry Fee: $20- 
$55. Contact: Shriekfest Film Festival. PO 
Box 920444. Sylmar. CA 91392: 
email@shriekfest.com; www.shriekfestcom. 

SILVERDOCS: AFI/DISCOVERY CHANNEL 
DOC FILM FESTIVAL June 16-20. MD. 
Deadline: Jan. 30: March 5. Cats: doc. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $25 (short), $30 
(feature); $30 (short final). $35 (feature 
final). Contact: Festival. 8633 Colesville Rd, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910: (301)495-6776: 
fax: 495-6777; info@silverdocs.com; 
www.silverdocs.com. 

SPROUT FILM FESTIVAL. May 22-23, NY. 
Deadline: March 8. Festival created to show- 
case film & video related to the field of devel- 
opmental disabilities at screening at the NYU 
Cantor Film Center. Cats: any style or genre, 
feature, doc. short Entry Fee: $15: $25 (over 
30 min.). Contact: Anthony Di Salvo. 893 
Amsterdam Avenue. New York, NY 10025: 
(212) 222-9575: anthony@gosprout.org; 
www.filmfestival.gosproutorg. 

SUBMERGE INTL ART & ENVIRONMENT 
FESTIVAL. May-Oct. NY. Deadline: April 1. 
Fest mission is "presenting film, video & pho- 
tography which reflects our concerns about 
our fragile aquatic environments". Fest is pre- 
sented each yr. at various venues mcl. out- 
door & theatrical screenings, Gallery Exhibits 
& Public Art Installations. Founded: 2002. 
Cats: any style/genre. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $20. Contact: Festival: urbandivers 
@urbandivers.org: www.urbandivers.org. 



TAKE BACK DEMOCRACY FILM FESTIVAL 
May-Oct. CA Deadline: March 31. A travel- 
ing film fest organized by grass roots & 
activist groups as well as independent media 
centers in dozens of cities across America 
The purpose is to educate the public on U.S. 
economic, political & social policies & to get 
out the vote. Founded: 2004. Cats: doc. 
Formats: Beta SR 1/2". DVD. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: c/o 
Independent Media Center, P.O. Box 1 1 07 
Santa Monica CA 90406; (310) 458-6566; 
fax: 458-6566: sekler@earthlink.net 

TELLURIDE INDIEFEST 2004: call for 
entries. A unique festival/seminar dedicated 
to the spirit & advancement of independent 
film/videomaking & screenwriting. Final 
deadline: May 31. 2004. Entry fee: Varies, 
depending on length of piece and date 
entered. Contact: Telluride IndieFest 2004. 
1 1 07 Key Plaza #1 36. Key West FL 33040 
(mailing address until May 1): (305) 293- 
7698; festva)@tellurideindiefestcom: www.tel 
luridemdiefestcom 

VIDEOGRAPHER AWARDS. April, TX. 
Deadline: March 26. Event is an awards pro- 
gram to honor talented individuals & compa- 
nies in the video production industry. Cats: 
any style/genre. Awards: Awards given for 
video production & special events video. 
Formats: S-VHS. DVD. 3/4". 1/2". Beta Beta 
SR CD-ROM. Entry Fee: $40. Contact: VA, 
221 4 Michigan, Ste. E. Arlington, TX 7601 3: 
(817) 459-0488: fax: 795-4949: info® 
videoawards.com: www.videoawards.com. 

WOODS HOLE FILM FESTIVAL, July 31 -Aug. 
8. MA. Deadline: April 1 : May 1 (final). A 
showcase for indep. film w/ special emphasis 
on regional filmmakers & cinematography. 
Founded: 1 991 . Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation, experimental, script. Awards: Best of 
Fest. Best feature: drama comedy, doc: 
Short: drama comedy, animation, doc, exper- 
imental: Director's Choice Award for 
Cinematography. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
Beta SP DVD. Preview on VHS. Fee: fea- 
tures: $40, $50 ; shorts (under 40mm.): 
$20. $30 (final). Contact: JC Bouvier. PO 
Box 624. Woods Hole. MA 02543; (508) 
495-3456; mfo@woodsholefilmfestival.org; 
www.woodsholefilmfestival.org. 

INTERNATIONAL 

COUNCIL ON FOUNDATIONS FILM & 
VIDEO FESTIVAL. April 25-28. Canada. 
Deadline: March 19. The fest showcases 



58 The Independent | March 2004 



films & videos that have received the support of 
foundations & corporate giving programs, & 
encourages other grantmakers to use media to 
advance their philanthropic goals. Cats: Works 
may be of any length, from feature length to 
brief public service announcement. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Evelyn Gibson, 
1828 L St. NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 
20036; (202)467-0471; fax: 785-3926; 
gibse@cof.org; www.cof.org. 

FESTIVAL INT'L DU DOCUMENTAIRE 
(MARSEILLE), July 2-7, France. Deadline: 
March 1 5. Festival is open to every form, past 
& present, of doc film. Cats: Doc. Awards: 
Grand Prix (Feature length) 30,000 FF, Prix 
de la competition frangaise 1 5,000 FF, Prix 
de la Critique (First film) 10,000 FF.Prix 
Planete, Prix Georges de Beauregard, & the 
Prix des Cinemas de Recherche. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm, Beta SP Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: Michel Tregan, 
President, 14 Allee Leon Gambetta, 
Marseille, 13001; 011 33(0)4 9504 44 90; 
fax: 9504 44 91 ; welcome@fidmarseille.org; 
www.fidmarseille.org. 

FESTIVAL OF NATIONS, June 13-19, 
Austria. Deadline: April 1. All noncommercial 
films & videos qualified to participate. Please 
enclose short description of film. Film/video 
must be completed w/in the last two years. 
Duration of film is limited to 30 min. Films 
rated by int'l jury. Cats: any style or genre, 
short, length from 3-30 min. Awards: 
"Ebenseer Bear" in gold, silver & bronze. 
Special Award for the "Best Film" in the com- 
petition; Special award for best short under 3 
min.; special award for best experimental film. 
Formats: 1/2", S-VHS, DV, DVD, Mini DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
Erich Riess , Gaumbergstr. 82, Linz, Austria 
A-4060 ; 01 1 43 732 673 693; fax: 01 1 43 
732 666 2 666; eva-video@netway.at; 
www.8ung.at/filmfestival. 

FUKUOKA ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, early 
July, Japan. Deadline: March 31. Most popu- 
lar test in Japan welcomes Asian directors, 
& directors of any nat'lity if they are working 
w/ Asian themes. Cats: feature, short, doc, 
animation, experimental, student, music 
video, any style/genre. Awards: non-cash 
prizes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 1/2", 3/4", S- 
VHS, Beta SP, DV, DVD. Preview on VHS. 
No Fee. Shu Maeda, Hirako bldg., 4th fl., 2- 
4-3 1 , Chuo-ku, Fukukoa, Japan 8 1 0-004 1 ; 
011 81 92 733 0949; fax: 81 92-733- 
0948; faff@gol.com; www2.gol.com/ 
users/faff/en glish.html. 



GALWAY FILM FLEADH. July 6-11, Ireland. 
Deadline: April 24. The foremost test for pre- 
senting new Irish films alongside cutting 
edge int'l cinema. Over 60 features & 80 
shorts screening over six days w/ int'l critics 
from Variety, Film Comment & other publica- 
tions. Founded: 1 988. Cats: Short, Feature, 
Any style or genre, doc. Awards: Best Irish 
short, best first short, best doc, best anima- 
tion (all must be directed by Irish filmmakers) 
& best first feature, best Feature doc 
(Feature open to Int'l Competition). Formats: 
35mm, 1 6mm, Beta SP, DigiBeta. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: 15 euro. Contact: Cluain 
Mhuire, , Monivea Rd, Galway, Ireland; 01 1 
353 91 751655; fax: 011 353 91 735831; 
gafleadh@iol.ie; www.galwayfilmfleadh.com. 

INT'L ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, 

June 1-6, Spain. Deadline: April 1. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc. Contact: Festival, Apartat de 
Correus, PO Box 185, Barcelona, Spain 
08850; 01 1 34 936 336 852; fax: 936 336 
852; ficma@ficma.com; www.ficma.com. 

INT'L FESTIVAL OF FINE ARTS, Sept. 22-26, 
Hungary. Deadline: March 31. Fest presents 
film & video works of various genres, which 
are somehow related to science: they deal 
w/ scientific work & achievements, or sci- 
ence plays an important part in their plot, lan- 
guage or manner of interpretation. The fest is 
accompanied by a conference called The 
Digital Challenge to discuss recent develop- 
ments & their possible effects on the film 
industry. Festival provides free accommoda- 
tions for accepted filmmakers. Cats: doc, 
short, experimental, animation. Preview on 
VHS PAL. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Istvan 
Demeter, Managing Director, Tisza Mozi, Ltd., 
Templom u. 4., Szolnok, Hungary 5000; 01 1 
36 56 511 270; fax: 36 56 420 038; 
festival@tiszamozi.hu; www.tiszamozi.hu. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL INNSBRUK, June 9- 
13, Austria. Deadline: March 31. IFFI pres- 
ents films from & about Africa, South 
America & Asia. Submitted films must be 
Austrian premieres. Founded: 1992. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short, Animation. Awards: Tyrol 
Award (5,000 E); Audience Award (1 ,000 E); 
French Cultural Institute's Francophone 
Award (1,000 E). Formats: 35mm, 16mm. 
Preview on VHS PAL. No Fee. Raimund 
Obkircher, Museumstrasse 31 „ Innsbruck, 
Austria 6020; 1 1 43 5 1 2 57 85 00 1 4; fax: 
57 85 00 13; info@iffi.at; www.iffi.at. 

INT'L SHORT FILM FESTIVAL Hamburg, 
June 9-14, Germany. Deadline: Feb. 15 



(shorts & no budget); April 1 (3 minute 
"Quickie"). Annual Festival is a forum for 
presenting diversity of int'l short films & 
providing a meeting place for filmmakers 
from home & abroad. Consecutively run w/ 
the Hamburg Children's Film Festival. 
Shorts must be under 20 min., except for 
Three-Minute Quickie entries (must be 
under 3 min.). Founded: 1985. Cats: short, 
children, any style or genre. Awards: 
Hamburg Short Film Award, No Budget 
Award, Audience Awards. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, super 8, S-VHS, Beta SP, DVD, 
1 /2". Preview on VHS. If previews are not in 
German or English, please enclose text list. 
Entry Fee: None. Contact: Festival, 
KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V, 
Friedensallee 7, Hamburg, Germany D- 
22765; 011 49 40 39 1 6323; fax: 391 
6320; festival@shortfilm.com; www.short 
film.com. 

MELBOURNE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 

21- Aug. 8, Australia. Deadline: March 19 
(shorts); April 1 6 (features). Established in 
1 952, the fest is the oldest established Film 
in the southern hemishphere & one of 
Australia's oldest running arts events. 
Screened in some of Melbourne's most cel- 
ebrated cinemas & theaters, the fest com- 
prises an eclectic mix of outstanding film- 
making from around the world, encompass- 
ing fiction, documentaries, animation & 
experimental films w/ a program of more 
than 350 films from over 40 countries. 
Highlights incl. the Int'l Short Film Awards, 
spolights on filmmakers, genres & retros. 
Founded: 1 952. Cats: feature, doc, anima- 
tion, exp., student. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, , 
Beta SP, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$40 (shorts only). Brett Woodward, 
Program Coordinator, Box 2206, Fitzroy 
Mailing Center, Fitzroy, Australia 3065; 01 1 
61 3 4 1 7 20 1 1 ; fax: 4 1 7 3804; miff@mel 
bournefilmfestival.com.au; www.melbourne 
filmfestival.com.au. 

MILANO INT'L GAY & LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL , May 26-June 1, Italy. Deadline: 
April 20. The largest public screening of les- 
bian/gay films in Milan. Founded: 1985. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, exp. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta (PAL only), U-matic (NTSC/ 
PAL), 1/2" (NTSC / PAL). Preview on VHS 
(NTSC, PAL or SECAM). No Fee. Giampaolo 
Marzi, C/O MBE 209, Via Del Torchmo 12, 
Milano, Italy 20123; 01 1 39 023 319 1 18; 
fax: 39 0272 002 942; marzig@energy.it; 
www.cinemagaylesbico.com. 



March 2004 | The Independent 59 



"The festival that 

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DCIFF 2004 brings 

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MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM 
FESTIVAL aims to promote & encourage 
women screenwriters, playwrights, short 
story writers & women who make independ- 
ent films, in any genre, including feature films, 
animation, documentaries & short films, & to 
allow those women to have the opportunity for 
their work to be viewed & accepted by the 
powers that be, within the international film 
community. Entry Fee: $60 US (August 1 st); 
$75 US (Oct 1 st). The Columbine Award: For 
the film, screenplay, stage play or short story 
that best depicts problems or conflicts solved 
in a non-violent manner. Other awards: 
$1,000 each for best original feature screen- 
play, stage play, short story, animation screen- 
play, feature, doc, short film, or animation film. 
Deadline: March 15. 2004. Send screenplay, 
stage play, or short story in standard format, or 
VHS video of film to: Moondance International 
Film Festival, 970 Ninth Street Boulder. CO 
80302: (303) 545-0202: mermaid7cs 
@aol.com: www.moondancefilmfestival.com 

NETHERLANDS TRANSGENDER FILM 
FESTIVAL. May 21-25. Netherlands. 
Deadline: March 1. Cats: feature, doc. short, 
experimental. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Kam 
Wai Kui. c/o Stichting T-lmage, PO Box 
15650, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1001 
ND; 01 1 31 20 636 3727: fax: 31 20 636 
3730: info@transgenderfilmfestival.com; 
www.transgenderfilmfestival.com. 

ODENSE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, August 9- 
14. Denmark. Deadline: April 1. Annual 
Festival is organized by city of Odense and 
Danish Film Institute to present unusual 
short films w/ an original & imaginative 
sense of creative delight as found in the 
works of Hans Christian Anderson. Films 
must not exceed 45 min. & must have been 
completed on or after March of previous year. 
Educational, advertising & tourist films are 
not eligable. Founded: 1975. Cats: experi- 
mental, feature, short animation. Awards: 
Grand Prix, most imaginative, most surprising 
& special jury prizes. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, 
Beta SR Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Festival. Vindegade 18 , DK-5000, 
Odense C. Denmark; 011 45 6613 1372 
x.4007: fax: 011 45 6591 4318; 
off.ksf@odense.dk: www.filmfestival.dk. 

PESAR0 FILM FESTIVAL. June 25-July 3, 
Italy. Deadline: April 30. Annual test's "New 
Cinema" program. Production req. Italian pre- 
miere, completion after Jan. 1 of previous 
year. If not English or French spoken or sub- 



titled, enclose dialogue list in either language. 
Founded: 1964. Cats: feature, short, doc, 
experimental, animation features. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Betacam, 3/4". Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Fondazione 
Pesaro Nuovo Cinema, Via Villafranca 20, 
Rome, 00185, Italy; 01 1 39 06 445 6643; 
fax: 49 1 1 63: pesarofilmfest@mclink.it; 
www.pesarofilmfestit 

PLANET FOCUS: TORONTO ENVIRON- 
MENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, Sept 28-Oct 3, 
Canada Deadline: April 1 : May 3. Fest pays 
special consideration to works that push the 
boundaries of the accepted notions of 'envi- 
ronment"; works that present cultural per- 
spectives that are under-represented in 
Canada & works that will have their world or 
Canadian premiere at fest Cats: any style or 
genre. Entry Fee: $15/$20(final). 517 
College St, Suite 405, Toronto, ON, Canada 
M6G-4A2: (416) 531-1769; info@planet 
infocus.org; www.planetinfocus.org. 

SPLICE THIS! THE TORONTO ANNUAL 
SUPER 8 FILM FESTIVAL. June 19-21, 
Canada. Deadline: March 31. Non-competi- 
tive fest for small gauge films, showcasing a 
work by first- time filmmakers & seasoned 
super-eighters. All entries must be shot on 
Super 8. Video screened only if original print 
isn't avail, or if the film was edited on video. 
16mm blow-ups of super 8 films are also 
considered. Cats: any style or genre. 
Formats: super 8, silent super 8. super 8 w/ 
live accomampaniment super 8 w/ sound, 
super8 w/ audiocassette. . Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $5. 92 Borden St. Toronto, 
Ontario M5S2N1; splicethis@yahoo.com; 
www.splicethis.com. 



AIVF MEMBERS 

CAN SEARCH AN 

INTERACTIVE 

DIRECTORY 

AT 

WWW.AIVF.ORG 



60 The Independent | March 2004 



Films/Tapes 
Wanted 

By Jessica McDowell 

Noncommercial notices and screening 
opportunities are listed free of charge 
as space permits. Commercial notices 
are billed at classified rates. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length and makes no guarantees 
about duration of listing. Limit submis- 
sions to 60 words and indicate how 
long your information will be current. 
Listings must be submitted to 
notices@aivf.org by the first of the 
month two months prior to cover date 
(e.g., April 1 for June issue). Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement by The 
Independent or AIVF. We try to be as 
current and accurate as possible, but 
nevertheless: double-check details 
before sending. 

DISTRIBUTION 

AQUARIUS HEALTH CARE VIDEOS, the 

leader of documentary films that focus on 
health & powerful life challenging situations is 
seeking additional programs to add to our 
award winning collection. Our strong, targeted 
marketing program & film festivals will help 
increase awareness for you. We look forward 
to previewing your film. Please send your film 
to Aquarius Health Care Videos, 1 8 North Main 
Street, Sherborn, MA 01 770. (888) 440-2963. 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/video/mul- 
timedia distributor, seeks new doc, fiction, edu- 
cational & animation programs for distribution. 
Send videocassettes or discs for evaluation to: 
The Cinema Guild, 130 Madison Ave., 2nd fl., 
New York, NY 10016; (212) 685-6242; 
gcrowdus@cinemaguild.com; Ask for our 
Distribution Services brochure. 

EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR seeks videos 
on violence, drug prevention, mentoring, chil- 
dren's health & parenting for exclusive distribu- 
tion. Our marketing gives unequaled results! 
Call Sally Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk 
Youth: (800) 99-YOUTH x. 210. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as an 
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winning film & video producers. Send us your 
new works on healthcare, mental health, aging, 
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INDIE-UNDERGROUND seeks offbeat, edgy 
features and doc features for foreign/domestic 
distribution. Gross % on Internet sales. 
Established track record, fast response. Visit 
our submissions page at www.lndie 
Underground.com and send us your show. 

NEW DAY FILMS seeks energetic independ- 
ent film and videomakers with social issue 
docs for distribution to non-theatrical mar- 
kets. If you want to maximize your profits 
while working within a remarkable communi- 
ty of committed activist filmmakers, then New 
Day is the perfect home for your film. New 
Day is committed to promoting diversity with- 
in our membership and within the media we 
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day.com, then contact Heidi Emberling at 
(650)347-5123. 

NOODLEHEAD NETWORK distributes only 
youth-produced videos. Guaranteed exposure 
to tens of thousands, plus royalties to sustain 
your program. Educational videos in all subjects 
and 1 0+ years experience. 1 (800) 639-5680 
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PASSION RIVER: Arthouse films & docs want- 
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MICROCINEMAS • 
SCREENING 

CAFE NUBIA in Denver, Colorado, is a 
monthly arts and social change venue featur- 
ing indie film and videoworks by filmmakers 
of color, spoken word, performance art, and 
political prose. Non-mainstream, guerrilla films, 
queer, and hip-hop creations desired. Seeking 
5-to-45 min films. Visit www.panafricanarts.org 
http://www.panafricanarts.org; email BluBlak 
womyn@yahoo.com; or 303-832-3190. 
Submit work, VHS/DVD (NTSC) with contact 
info and support materials (no entry fee) to Pan 
African Arts Society, 700 E. 24th Ave. Ste 9, 
Denver, CO 80205. 

CAPE COD FILM SOCIETY SCREENING 
SERIES of Brewester, MA, seeks experimen- 
tal, doc & fiction films & videos. Any length, 
genre or style, but we are particularly interest- 
ed in works by filmmakers willing to present in 
person on Cape Cod. Some travel assistance 
may be available as well as an honorarium for 
works screened. Please send work on VHS, 
DVD, or mini-DV w/ filmmaker bio, publicity 
materials (if available), and a statement or 
synopsis. Also indicate your availability to 
appear with your work for Q&A. Include SASE 



X-rated Access 

Over the eight years that the "2droogies," 
(Edmund Varuolo and Brian Powell) have been 
producing Industrial Television for Staten Island 
Community Television (SICT), they have made it 
their mission to show nothing but the most 
bizarre and cutting-edge films and videos that 
they can get their hands on. In the early days, the show featured industrial 
training films, (hence the name); today, it's "Z-grade movies," exploitation, sex 
tapes, animation, stripper loops, unseen news footage, drive-in ads— all 
accompanied by "visual commentary" from the hosts. After 1 31 episodes, the 
show has become the number one program on the station, and it is constantly 
looking for submissions. See listing. 



consideration, please send tape to: Passion 
River, GreeneStreet Film Center, 9 Desbrosses 
St, 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10013. (212) 966- 
5877, www.PassionRiver.com. 

THE WILLIAM BONNEY PICTURE SHOW. A 

Festival That Shares the $!!! * Detailed 
Feedback on Every Submission ' Low Entry 
Fees * Run by Filmmakers* A Roaming 
Festival of Kicke Asse Movies 
www.williambonney.org. 



for return. Send to: Rebecca M. Alvin, Cape 
Cod Film Society Screening Series, PO Box 
1727, Brewster, MA 02631-7727. capecod 
film@yahoo.com or 866-235-8397 

DREAM SERIES: Seeks challenging social- 
issue documentaries that promote frank com- 
munity discussions about issues of racial prej- 
udice and social injustice that fall under the 
Martin Luther King, Jr., legacy. Selected works 
are screened for this ongoing monthly series at 



March 2004 | The Independent 61 



the MLK National Historic Site in Atlanta GA 
and promoted, listed, and reviewed m local 
print Formats: VHS. Beta Send non returnable 
VHS screeners to Mark A. Smith/ DREAM, 
IMAGE Film & Video Center. 75 Bennett St 
NW, Suite N-1, Atlanta, GA 30309: 
mark@imagefv.org. 

ECHO PARK FILM CENTER seeks submis- 
sions for weeklycmema events. We screen 
documentary, animation, experimental, and 
short narrative films & videos. We do not 
screen feature length narratives. Filmmakers 
recieve an honorarium. Contact: Echo Park 
Film Center, 1200 NAIvarado St. LA CA 
90026: (213) 484-8846: polyesterprince 
@hotmail.com; www.echoparkfilmcenter.ogr.g. 

FILM BLITZ, a new screening event that will 
take place in spring 2004. is now accepting 
submissions on a rolling basis in all categones. 
No fee. Download application form at 
www.filmblitz.org: send submissions with com- 
pleted form to: Teatro La Tea 107 Suffolk St 
2nd Fl. New York, NY 10002. 

FLICKER NYC is a bi-monthly show of new 
Super 8 and 1 6mm films by local filmmakers 
held at the Knitting Factory. Each show fea- 
tures new films, vintage Super 8 reels, home- 
made cookies, raffles for Super 8 stock, T- 
shirts. and Flicker Super 8 guides. Submissions 
are ongoing and there is no submission fee. 
Website: www.flickernyccom. 

LESBIAN LOOKS of Tucson, AZ seeks narra- 
tive, doc. exp. &mixed-genre work of all lengths 
for 2004 season. DVD & VHS NTSC only. Fee 
paid for all works screened. Deadline: June 1 . 
2004. Send VHS previewtape, brief synopsis, 
artist bio & electronic stills to Beverly 
Seckmger.Media Arts, Harvill 226. University of 
Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721,bsecking@u.ar 
izonaedu: http://w3.arizona edu/~lgbcom. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPO- 
SURE a monthly microcinema screening pro- 
gram of int'l short films, videos & digital works, 
seeking short video, film &digital media sub- 
missions of 15 min. or fewer on an ongoing 
basis for themonthly screening program. Artists 
qualify for a nonexclusive distributiondeal. incl. 
additional license fees for int'l offline & online 
sales. Looking for short narrative, alternative, 
humorous, dramatic, eroticanimation, etc. 
Submit VHS (NTSC/PAL) or DVD/Mini-DV 
(NTSC only) clearlylabeled w/ name.title. 
length, phone # & any support materials, incl. 
photos. Submissionswill not be returned. 
Contact: Joel S. Bachar. Microcinema 



International, 531 Utah St, San Francisco, CA 
94110: info@microcinemacom; 415-864- 
0660, www.microcinemacom. 

NEWFILM MAKERS HOWL at New York's 
Pioneer Theatre seeks submissions for its 
weekly screening series. Form available on 
website: $25 submission fee. Send a VHS 
copy of your film or video with form/fee to 
thomas bannister. NewFilmmakers. PO Box 
4956. New York, NY 10185. For more info, 
visit www.newfilmmakers.com. 

SHORT FILM GROUP seeks shorts (under 45 
min.) throughout the year for its quarterly series 
of screenings in Los Angeles. The group is a 
nonprofit organization created to promote short 
film as a means to itself. For more information 
& an application form, visit www.shortfilm 
group.org. 

SHOW & TELL, Highlighting everything from 
film, video, music & poetry, this event provides 
a venue to show works in a nonconventional 
location. Seeking 1 to 20-minutes film/videos 
on VHS. (Submissions are non-returnable) 
SHOW & TELL, c/o Black Robb 535 
Havemeyer Ave #12H, NY, NY 10473: (718) 
409-1691 : blackrobb@netzero.net 

TINY PICTURE CLUB seeks Super 8 films for 

quarterly, theme-based programs. Films will 
screen on Super 8 & be accompanied by live 
music. Tiny Picture Club is especially interested 
in work from the Portland area Send VHS tape 
to: Tiny Picture Club. 109 NE Holland St 
Portland. OR 9721 1 ; www.tinypictureclub.org. 

VIDEOTHEATRE, NYC is New York's never- 
ending DV festival! Currently seeking all kinds 
of original films on DV formats. Monthly dead- 
lines. Year-round submission. Weekly pro- 
gramming in two AC theaters located on 
Manhattan's downtown theater row. 
VideoTheatreNYC@aol.com: www.videothe 
atrenyc.com. 

ZEHN STUCK (ten pieces), an emerging 
microcinema in NY. seeks submissions of short 
films/videos for monthly screenings. 
S8/16mm/mini DV formats accepted for 
screening. Entries should not exceed 1 5 min- 
utes in length, jomarcine @hotmail.com for 
app. and standard release, or with inquiry. 

GALLERIES • 
EXHIBITIONS 

ARC GALLERY reviewing videos for Media 
Room. View Media Room Prospectus at 



www.arcgallery.org or send SASE for Media 
Room prospectus to: ARC Gallery. 734 N. 
Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL or call (312) 733- 
2787 for info W-S 1 2-6, Sun 1 2-4. 

EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY historic site 
in PA seeks artists forexhibition at the site. 
Some funding avail, for media arts. Proposals 
arereviewed annually each fall. See website for 
information and deadline. Torequest an applica- 
tion, or schedule an orientation tour, contact 
BrettBertolmo at (2 1 5) 236-5 1 1 1 ex. 1 2. or at 
bb@EasternState.org, or visitwww.eastern 
state.org. 

TOURING PROGRAMS 

SOUTHERN CIRCUIT: a tour of 6 artists who 
travel to 6 sites in the Southeast now accept- 
ing applications from film/video artists. Artists 
asked to submit application form & VHS, 3/4", 
Beta or 1 6mm film program of 45 min. to 2 hrs 
(can be cued for a 30 mm. section for judging 
purposes) in addition to resume, any press 
packet materials & $20 entry fee. Performance 
& installation art not accepted, nor any works- 
in-progress. Note: Some circuit sites are 
limited to VHS projection. After pre-screening 
4. Contact: South Carolina Arts Commission, 
Attn: Susan Leonard, Media Arts Center, 
1800 Gervais St, Columbia SC 29201 ; (803) 
734-8696: fax: 734-8526; sleonard® 
arts.state.scus; www.southcarolinaarts.com. 

THE HIP HOP FILM FEST TOUR is ongoing 
hitting major cities & cultural centers on a 
global level. Organizers are indie filmmakers 
looking to share their visual documents of the 
vibrant Hip-Hop culture and connect with other 
mediamakers. Deadline: Ongoing. Visit 
www.hiphopfilmfest.com: email lnfo@Hip 
HopFilm Festcom. or 415 225-1583. 

BROADCASTS • 
CABLECASTS 

BROOKDALE TELEVISION is a progressive 
educational access channel in Momouth 
County. NJ. reaching over 79,000 households 
at the Jersey shore. We are currently seeking 
independent works for cablecast All lengths 
and genres considered. Nonexclusive rights 
release upon acceptance, no payment but pro- 
motional and contact info will be provided on 
air and through our office. VHS for preview, 
BetaSR MiniDV SVHS, and DVD accepted for 
Cablecast. Roger Conant, BTV, Brookdale 
Community College, 765 Newman Springs 
Road, Atec Rm. 1 1 2, Lmcroft NJ 07738; (732) 
224-2467: rconant@brook dalecc.edu. 



62 The Independent | March 2004 



FASTSHOOTERS is accepting short feature 
films, animations and videos to asemble in a 
TV-broadcast-length collection for pitch to net- 
works. All mediums and genres. For more 
information: www.fastshooters.com. 

FILM FINDS, KSC-TV's new showcase of inde- 
pendent films, now seeks work for broadcast in 
Minneapolis/St Paul. Only feature-length nar- 
rative films considered. Work must have played 
in at least 2 juried film tests & cannot have had 
a wide release or previously been broadcast on 
network TV. For info & a downloadable appl., 
visit www.mnfilm.org; filmfinds@mnfilm.org. 

INDUSTRIAL TELEVISION: Cutting-edge 
cable access show in its 8th year, is looking for 
experimental, humorous, quirky dramatic, erot- 
ic, horror/sci-fi, animated and underground 
works. Controversial, uncensored and subver- 
sive material is given priority. We guarantee 
exposure in the NYC area. DVC Pro, mini-DV, 
SVHS, VHS, 3/4" SP, 3/4", Hi-8. Contact: 
Edmund Varuolo, c/o 2droogies productions, 
Box 020206, Staten Island, NY 10302; 
ed@2droogies.com; www.2droogies.com. 

KQED-TV, public television serving San 
Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, looking for 
independent docs & dramas 6-60 min. for 
broadcast acquisition. Contact: Scott Dwyer, 
(415) 553-2218; sdwyer@kqed.org. 

NEW CASTLE COMMUNITY TV STATION in 

Chappaqua, NY, with a potential viewership of 
over 100,000, invites new and seasoned 
video/media producers to cablecast their proj- 
ects. Preference given to N. Westchester but all 
Westchester residents are welcome. For more 
info contact NCCTV@hotmail.com. 

QUEER PUBLIC ACCESS TV PRODUCERS: 

Seek public access show tapes by/for/about 
gay, lesbian, bi, drag, trans subjects, for inclu- 
sion in academic press book on queer commu- 
nity programming. All genres welcome. Incl. 
info about your program's history & distribution. 
Send VHS tapes to: Eric Freedman, Asst. Prof., 
Comm. Dept, Florida Atlantic Univ., 777 Glades 
Rd„ Boca Raton, FL 33431 ; (561) 297-2534; 
efreedma@fau.edu. 

SHORT LIST: Showcase for int'l short films, 
airs on PBS. Licenses all genres, 30 sec. to 20 
mins. Produced inassociation w/ Eastman 
Kodak & Cox Channel 4. Awards 5 Kodak 
product grantsannually. Submit on VHS, DVD, 
or CD. Appl. form avail, onwww.theshortlistcc. 
Contact: fax: (619) 462-8266; or email short 
list@mail.sdsu.edu. 



SHORT TV is the only cable network entirely 
dedicated to Short Films, produced & directed 
by today's emerging independent filmmakers. 
Short TV broadcasts in New York City, Los 
Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia & 
Detroit to around 2 million households. For 
submission/details, www.shorttv.com, or call: 
(212)226-6258 

SUB ROSA STUDIOS seeks video & film pro- 
ductions for ongoing Syracuse-area TV pro- 
gramming & VHS/ DVD/TV worldwide 
release. Shorts or feature-length nonaction 
productions in all areas of the special-interest 
or instructional fields, cutting-edge documen- 
taries & children & family programming. Also 
feature-length fiction, especially horror & sci-fi. 
Supernatural-themed products wanted, both 
fiction & nonfiction, especially supernatural/ 
horror fiction shot doc. style (realistic). Ron 
Bonk, Sub Rosa Studios, (315) 652-3868; 
webmaster® b-movie.com ; www.b-movie.com 

ZOOM: ZOOM is a kids-only series on PBS, 
featuring kids plays, films, games & more. 
ZOOM is seeking films, animation & videos 
made by kids (some adult supervision okay). 
Every kid who sends something will receive a 
free newsletter filled w/ fun activities & may 
see their film on TV. Length: up to 3 min. 
Format: 3/4", VHS, Hi8, super 8, 16mm, Beta, 
digital formats. Age: 5-14. Subjects should be 
age appropriate. Contact: Marcy Gunther, 
WGBH/ZOOM, 125 Western Ave., Boston, 
MA 021 34; marcy_gunther@wgbh.org. 

WEBCASTS 

TURBULENCE is a project of New Radio and 
Performing Arts, Inc. (NRPA), a not-for-profit 
501(c)(3) org. that commissions netart works 
by emerging and established artists. To be con- 
sidered for year round commissions, see our 
guidelines at http://turbulence.org/guide 
lines.html To receive announcements about 
specific competitions, please go to http://tu 
rbulence.org and click on "Subscribe" in the 
table of contents, Contact: turbulence@turbu 
lence.org. More information: http://turbu 
lence.org. 

WIGGED PRODUCTIONS is an Internet based 
arts organization dedicated to making new and 
innovative art more accessible through broad- 
cast and online presentations. Seeking recent- 
ly completed videos less than ten min in length 
that interpret dance, music, poetry or visual art 
by cinematographic methods. Selected videos 
will be streamed over the Internet at 
www.wigged.net. Deadline: ongoing. 




Digital /Analog 

Film, Video & Web Production 

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March 2004 | The Independent 63 



Classifieds 

Deadline: First of each month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g., April 
1st for June issue). Contact: (212) 
807-1400, x241; fax: (212)463-8519; 
classifieds@aivf.org. 

PER ISSUE COST: 0-240 characters 
(incl. spaces & punctuation): $45 for 
nonmembers/$30 for AIVF members; 
241-360 chars: $65/$45; 361-480 
chars: $80/$60; 481-600 chars: 
$95/$75; over 600 characters: Call for 
quote, (212) 807-1400, x241. 

FREQUENCY DISCOUNT: $5 off per 
issue for ads running 5+ times. 

Ads exceeding the specified length 
will be edited. Place ad via 
www.aivf.org/independent/class 
ifieds or type copy and mail with the 
check or money order to: FIVF, 304 
Hudson St., 6th Fl., New York, NY 
10013. Include billing address, day- 
time phone, # of issues, and valid 
member ID# for member discount. To 
pay by VISA/MC/AMEX include card 
#, name on card and expiration date. 



INTERACTIVE 

CLASSIFIEDS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJUVF.ORG 



BUY » RENT * SELL 

24P HD SONY 900 PKG Full Sony CineAlta 
pkg DP with extensive credits/awards. Grip 
truck with Tungsten, HMI, KINO-FLO lighting, 
track dolly, mini jib. All credit cards. For rates 
and reels shoothd@shoothd.com or (203) 981 
0969. 

AATON XTR 16/SUP16 CAMERA PACKAGE 
for rent Canon zooms, Zeiss primes & full sup- 
port Abel Maintained. Great rates. (718) 398- 
6688 or email: jryrisius@aol.com. 

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE AT LOW PRICES, NO 
RESTRICTIONS: Offering a High Quality, 
Extensive Library of Public Domain Footage 
spanning the 20th Century at prices independ- 
ent producers can afford. Footage Farm (888) 
270-1 41 4; www.footagefarm.com. 



AVID 1000 AND AVID MC OFFLINE For Rent 
7/24 building, 7/24 tech support Midtown 
Manhattan. Great rooms, great views. Diva Edit 
at (2 12) 947-8433. 

DP W/ SONY 900 24P HD PKG. Young, cool 
DP with tons of gear. Full grip pkg, HMIs, tung- 
sten, doorway dolly, crew contacts etc. 
If I don't have it I can get it cheap. Call for more 
info Steve (917) 573-2470: eggjelly 
@yahoo.com. 

EQUIPMENT RENTALS FOR LOW BUDGETS: 
ProductionJunction has cameras, lights, audio 
gear. VTRs and more for day or weekly rental. 
www.ProductionJunction.com or (917) 288- 
9000. 

FOR SALE Bolex camera model H 1 6 RX-5. 3 
"C" mount lenses. Excellent condition. 
$3,900.00 Includes accessories (1 lense, 1 tr 
pod, 1 cable release). glyfada@cox.net/ 
Subject: BOLEX or Call: (571) 217-6932. 

KEEP IT DIGITAL! Digibeta deck for rent (Sony 
A-500) $400/day, $1200/week. Also dubs 
to/from Digibeta to Beta-SP, VHS, DVCam, 
mini-DV, etc Uncompressed Avid suite, too. 
Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

OFFICE FOR RENT IN SUITE OF INDIES. 

Large windows, great view. Midtown 7/24 
building. Short or long term sub-lease. Tel: 
(212)947-1395. 

FREELANCE 

35MM & 1 6MM PROD. PKG. w/ DP. Complete 
package w/ DPs own Am 35BL 1 6SR. HMIs. 
lighting, dolly, Tulip crane, camjib, DAT, grip & 5- 
ton truck. . . more. Call for reel: Tom Agnello 
(201) 741-4367; roadtoindy@aol.com. 

ACCOUNTANT/ BOOKKEEPER/CON- 
TROLLER: Experience in both corporate & 
nonprofit sectors. Hold MBA in Marketing & 
Accounting. Freelance work sought Sam 
Sagenkahn (917) 374-2464. 

ANDREW DUNN, Director of Photography/ 
camera operator Arri35 BL3. Aaton XTRprod 
S16, Sony DVCAM. Experience in features, 
docs, TV & industrials. Credits: Dog Run, Strays. 
Working Space/Working Light (212) 477- 
01 72; AndrewD 1 58@aol.com. 

ARE YOU STUCK? FERNANDA ROSSI, script 
& documentary doctor, specializes in narrative 
structure in all stages of the filmmaking 
process, including story development fundrais- 



ing trailers and post-production. She has doc- 
tored over 30 films and is the author of "Trailer 
Mechanics." For private consultations and 
workshops visit www.docu mentarydoctor.com 
or write to info@docu mentarydoctor.com. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography 
for feature films and shorts. Owns 35mm Arri 
BL 3, Super 16, 24p, complete lighting pkg. 
and a Tulip Crane. Best Cinematography Award 
for "Final Round" and other film Awards at 
Sundance, Berlin, and Raindance. Call for more 
info at: (212) 208-0968 or www.dpFlyntcom 
email: bcflynt@yahoo.com. 

COMPOSER: creative, experienced multi- 
faceted composer/sound designer excels in 
any musical style and texture to enhance your 
project Credits incl. award winning docus, fea- 
tures, TV films, animations on networks, cable. 
PBS, MTV. Full prod, studio in NYC. Columbia 
MA in composition. Free demo CD & consult 
Elliot Sokolov (212) 721-3218; or email elliot 
soko@aol.com. 

COMPOSER: Established film scorer, classi- 
cally trained, awards, 100s of commissions, 
complete recording facility available for film 
soundtracks. Tell me whafs in your head. (215) 
487-9446. www.johnavarese.com 

COMPOSER: Illuminate Music - Moving Music 
for Moving Images. Composer/producer 
George Whitty's credits incl. 2 Grammies, 
themes & score for CBS, ABC, NBC, Natl. 
Geographic, Lifetime. Full Prod. Studio in NYC 
area www.illuminatemusic.com. 

COMPOSER MAT EISENSTEIN awesome 
collaborator-works in all styles-NYC Midtown 
studio-all budgets! Credits incl. national com- 
mercials and fest shorts, www.mateisen 
stem.com (917) 863-6389. 

COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER LOVES to col- 
laborate docs, features. Lost In La Mancha, 
Sundance/POV Scout's Honor & Licensed To 
Kill, Peace x Peace, Stolen Childhoods, Amy's 
0. (310) 398-5985 mir.cut@verizon.net. 
www.miriamcutler.com. 

COMPOSER QUENTIN CHIAPPETTA MUSIC 
in any style-orch to electro. Credits-Travel 
Channel, Nat Geo. PBS, NFL Sundance & 
festivals worldwide. Great refs, pro Studio, 
Eastman grad. Budget conscious! (718) 782- 
4535; medianoise@excite.com. 

COMPOSER SARAH PLANT: Original+ 
licensed music. Arr., flutes: Ang Lee Oscar- 



64 The Independent | March 2004 



nom. Eat Drink Man Woman. Scores: PBS, 
Bravo, Canal+, Nat Hist. Museum. Classical, 
contemp, int'l. Acoustic+digital studio. 
www.sarahplantmusic.com. (845) 657-8454. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Arri SR 
Super 16/1 6mm & 35BL-2 camera pkgs. 
Expert Lighting & Camerawork for independ- 
ent films. Create that "big film" look on a low 
budget. Great prices, willing to travel. Matthew 
(617) 244-6730; (845) 439-5459. 

DP WITH FILM, VIDEO & UGHTING/Grip 

packages. Extensive documentary & 
independent project experience. Well- 
traveled, multi-lingual and experience field 
producing as well. Call Jerry for reel/rates: 
(718) 398-6688 or email jryrisius@aol.com. 

EDITOR with wide range of skills & 
experience: let's talk about your project Private 
Beta SP & DV editing suite; East Village loca- 
tion. Reel available.For more information call 
(917) 523-6260 orwww.HighNoonProd.com. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: Research, 
writing & strategy (for production, distribution, 
exhibition & educational media projects). 
Successful proposals to NYSCA, NEA, NEH, 
ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, Lila Acheson Wallace 
Foundation. Fast writers, reasonable rates. 
Wanda Bershen, (212) 598-0224; or email 
www.reddiaper.com. 

JAY SILVER: Director of Photography, 
Owner/Operator of: Aaton XTRprod S16/R16 
& Arri35 BL3. Experience shooting features, 
commercials, music videos & docs. Credits: 
Wendigo, Persona au Gratin, Eurotrash. (718) 
383-1 325 jay.silver@verizon.net 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 25 yrs sound exp. 
w/ timecode Nagra & DAT, quality mics & mix- 
ers. Reduced rates for low-budget projects. 
Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677-5720; 
(819) 459-2680; edfilms@worldnet.att.net; 
www.edwardsfilms.com. 

NEED PRODUCER BUT THINK YOU CAN'T 
AFFORD ONE? Experienced professional Line 
Producer for Budget (detailed/top-sheet), 
Script Breakdown, Schedule, Day-out-of-Days. 
Specialty low budget but high quality 
AnnettaLM@aol.com for rates/references. 

STORYBOARD ARTIST: With independent film 
experience. Loves boarding action sequences 
and complicated shots. Save money by having 
shots worked out before cameras roll. Call 
Kathryn Roake. (718) 788-2755. 



OPPORTUNITIES • GIGS POSTPRODUCTION 



50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO 
BUSINESS. FREE REPORT. Grow a 
successful video business in Legal, 
Wedding, Corporate, TV and more. 
http://videouniversity.com/50web.htm 

DIRECTOR/EDITOR for short documentary 
series about issues affecting teens across 
racial and class lines. Project popped on the 
radar last year with invite from Toronto and 
interest from large educational distributor. 
Fresh ideas needed to structure trailer while 
creator concentrates on fundraising and 
source development. Check out www.ghet 
toamericacom.jrwilliams90@hotmail.com. 

INDEPENDENT FILM AND DESIGN company 
is looking for a uniquely talented production 
associate to be involved with image research 
and lighting on an upcoming film on the: Future 
of the City. For more insight call Chris at: (610) 
346-9164. 

PREPRODUCTION 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: 

Experienced Line Producer will prepare script 
breakdowns, shooting schedules & detailed 
budgets. Movie Magic equipped. Credit cards 
accepted. Indie rates. Mark (212) 340-1 243 or 
LineProducerNYC@aol.com. 

SU-CITY PICTURES clients win awards & get 
deals! Susan Kouguell, Tufts instructor, author 
The Savvy Screenwriter analyzes: scripts/ 
films/treatments/queries/synopses/pitches. 
Over 1,000 clients worldwide inch Miramax, 
Warner Bros, Fine Line. Rewrites available. 
(212) 219-9224; www.su-city-pictures.com. 



AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service 
audio post-production facility. Mix-to-picture, 
ADR, voice-over, sound design & editing. 
Features, shorts, docs, TV & Radio. Contact 
Andy, All Ears Inc: (718) 399-6668 (718) 
496-9066 andy@allearspostcom. 

AVID EDITOR: Over 25 feature films. Also 
Trailers, Docs, TV, Reels. Fully equipped Tribeca 
AVID suite, FCR DVD. Pro-tools editing & mix- 
ing. Very fast & easy to get along with. Credit 
cards accepted. Dnna (212) 561-0829. 
DrinaL@aol.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: film-to-tape trans- 
fers, wet-gate, scene-by-scene, reversal film 
only. Camera original Regular 8mm, Super 8, 
and 16mm. For appointment call (978) 
948-7985. 

CERTIFIED FINAL CUT PRO INSTRUCTOR, 

offering small workshops and private tutorials. 
For more information: call (917) 523-6260; 
email Hinoonprod@aol.com or log on to 
www.HighNoonProd.com. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim tran- 
scription service for documentaries, 
journalists, film and video. Low prices & flat 
rates based on tape length, www.production 
transcripts.com for details or call: (888) 
349-3022. 

SOUND EDIT/DESIGN/MIX: Protools HD, 
5.1, M&E. AVID &FCP equipped. 10 Years 
Experience. Dozens of Features and Shorts, 
TV, Docs, Trailers, Spots. Flat Rate Packages 
available. Credit Cards. Frank, Mark (212) 
340-4770. SoundDesignMix@aol.com. 




March 2004 | The Independent 65 



Notices 

By Jessica McDowell 

Noncommercial notices are listed 
free of charge as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length and makes no guaran- 
tees about duration of listing. Limit 
submissions to 60 words and indi- 
cate how long your information will 
be current. Listings must be submit- 
ted to notices@aivf.org by the first of 
the month two months prior to cover 
date (e.g., April 1 for June, issue). 
Remember to give us complete con- 
tact info (name, address, and phone 
number). Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement by The Independent 
or AIVF. We try to be as current and 
accurate as possible, but neverthe- 
less: double-check details before 
sending anyone anything. 



COMPETITIONS 

BRITISH SHORT SCREENPLAY COMPETI- 
TION, presented by Kaos Films, seeks origi- 
nal, short unpublished, unproduced & unsold 
screenplays (5-1 5 minutes) from all over the 
world. Winning script will be produced by 
Kaos Films & premiere at the British 
Academy (BAFTA) to an audience of agents, 
producers, directors, film sales agents & fel- 
low writers. Deadline: May 28. 2004. Entry 
fee: £25 (US $39.95). lnfo@kaosfilms.co.uk: 
www.kaosfilms.co.uk. 

CYNOSURE SCREENWRITING AWARDS, 
presented by BroadMind Entertainment, is 
open to feature-length screenplays in two 
categories: scripts w/ female protagonists 
& scripts w/ minority protagonists (male & 
female). Works must not have been previ- 
ously optioned, purchased, or produced & 
must be registered w/ the WGA or US 
copyright office. One $2,500 award issued 
in each category. Entry fee: $40 early 
(postmarked by March 1 3): $45 regular 
(postmarked by April 10): $50 late (post- 
marked by May 8). Tel.: (310) 855-8730: 
cynsoure@BroadMindEnt.com; 
www.BroadMindEnt.com. 

KAY SNOW WRITING AWARDS: aim to 
encourage and support beginning and 
emerging writers. Non-published, non-pro- 
duced short or partial scripts. 10 pages or 
less. Submissions must be original and 
unpublished. Scriptwriting must be ten 



pages maximum from any portion of a 
script, or a short script under ten pages in 
its entirety. Finalists will be notified by mail 
in August. (Entry fee: $10, waived for stu- 
dents through grade 12). Awards: .$300 
first place, $150 second place. $50 third 
place. Student prizes are $50 for first 
place in each age division. Deadline: (May 
15. 2004). Contact: Kay Snow Writing 
Awards, Willamette Writers. 9045 SW 
Barbur Blvd, Suite 5A. Portland, OR 
97219: (503)-452-1592; wilwrite@tele 
port.com: www.willamettewriters.com 

SLAMDANCE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION 
2003 seeks original short & feature screen- 
plays that must not have been previously 
optioned, purchased, or produced (see entry 
form for other rules). Prizes incl. cash, 
passes to next year's Slamdance, plus expo- 
sure to a major literary agency & major stu- 
dio. Any genre. Entry fee varies. Early entry: 
April 1 9. 2004: late deadline: June 20, 2004. 
For more info, call (323) 466-1786: screen 
play@slamdance.com (slamfi@xeolux.com 
for sci-fi entry questions); www.slamdance.com. 

THE ANNUAL IDA AWARDS COMPETITION, 
sponsored by Eastman Kodak, recognizes & 
honors distinguished achievement in nonac- 
tion film & video. Wnners honored at the 
Awards Gala at DocuFest Early deadline: 
May 16 ($55 for IDA members, $75 non- 
members); final deadline: June 23 ($75. 
$125). Entry forms available at www.docu 
mentary.org, or contact IDA at (213) 534- 
3600 x7446: idaawards@documentary.org. 

THE GREAT LAKES FILM ASSOCIATION 
SCREENPLAY COMPETITION s currently 
accepting submissions. The screenplay com- 
petition is open to all genres. Must be feature 
length (20 pages or more). Prizes will include 
cash, awards and the top 1 5 screenplays will 
be passed along to an industry professional 
agency. Critiques will be available. Final 
deadline: April 30. 2004. Fees: $30 (post- 
marked by March 28 2004). $40 (post- 
marked by April 30, 2004). Contact Steven 
M. Opsanic; 814-873-5069; screen 
play@greatlakesfilmfestcom. Entry form and 
rules at: www.greatlakesfilmfest.com 

"WE DARE YOU TO MAKE THAT FILM- 
CONTEST, for women directors and 
screenplay writers who are working on 
their first feature film. Winning screen- 
play and director will have their films 
produced by the festival; applicants can 
submit both screenplays and directors' 



tapes for review. For more information 
contact Rosalind D'Eugenio at (203) 
325-8772 X13. 

CONFERENCES • 
WORKSHOPS 

DEVELOP YOUR SCRIPT AND SKILLS IN 
EUROPE: Top European development & 
training center for professionals, 
Amsterdam's Maurits Binger Film Insitute. is 
accepting applications from American 
screenwriters, directors & producers who 
wish to develop a feature film script & polish 
their skills in screenwriting, script editing & 
feature film directing. In an intensive 4 month 
laboratory, a select group of 15 filmmakers 
from around the world work in creative teams 
under the guidance of top international 
industry professionals to enhance their skills 
& bring their projects closer to production. 
All sessions are held in English. Deadline: 
March 15. 2004. Contact: info@binger.nl; 
www.binger.nl 

DV EXPO & CONFERENCE July 14-16, 
2004: the world of broadcast web video, 2D, 
3D graphics & animation, sound, & data are 
coming together in ways that require new 
skills & new ways of doing business. Build 
those skills & explore cutting edge ideas, 
trends, & technologies, www.dvexpo.com 

INPUT 2004 International Public Television 
Screening Conference will be held in 
Barcelona, Spain on May 23-28, 2004. The 
US Input Secretariat is accepting applica- 
tions for CPB Professional Development 
Fellowships to assist U.S. produc- 
ers/directers with airfare to the INPUT 2004 
conference. For more information on how to 
apply, go to www.scetv.org/input or contact 
Terry Pound at 803-737-3434, pound@scetv.org 
or Amy Shumaker 803-737-3433, 
shumaker@scetv.org 

INTERNATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION 
WORKSHOPS offer hands-on training 
with the latest equipment in a total immer- 
sion atmosphere under the guidance of 
leading professionals. In addition to the 
campus in Rockport, Maine, workshops, 
courses, photo and film expeditions are 
offered in Tuscany, Provence, Mexico, 
Cuba, Martha's Vineyard, Greece, Norway 
& Peru. Contact: International Film & TV 
Workshops. Box 200, 2 Central St., 
Rockport. ME 04856; (207) 236-8581: 
fax: 236-2558; mfo@TheWorkshops.com; 
www.TheWorkshops.com 



66 The Independent | March 2004 



PUBLICATIONS 



A CLOSER LOOK, A yearly anthology of case 
studies of media arts organizations, has 
years. 2000-2003 available from National 
Alliance for Media Arts and Culture 
(NAMAC). 2003 focuses on youth media. 
Free to members, and available for purchase 
at www.namac.org. 

DIGITAL MEDIA TRAINING SERIES: DMTS 
is the premiere training series for film, televi- 
sion & web developers. The series provides 
award-winning training video, CD-ROM and 
DVD training tools that improve productivity 
& creativity for the end-user. DMTS training 
episodes feature the latest topics & technol- 
ogy, giving viewers access to working profes- 
sionals & experts that they would not have in 
a traditional classroom setting, at a fraction 
of the cost. Featuring the latest education on 
Final Cut Pro, Avid, Flash, etc, this series is 
designed for filmmakers and has been spon- 
sored by the leading media software compa- 
nies. With our "try it before you buy it" pro- 
gram, you can try out any of the Limited 
Edition training programs for free. Contact: 
Rafael, (877) 606-5012; info@magnetmedi 
afilms.com; www.digitalmediatraining.com. 

LE BOOK 2003 EDITION: The international 
reference for fashion, photography, graphic 
design and production. Contains thousands 
of images that give a complete overview of all 
the latest creative trends. Provides easy 
accress to all businesses with a listing of over 
50,000 names, addresses and phone num- 
bers. To find out more call 21 2-334-5252 or 
lebookny@lebook.com, www.lebook.com. 

RESOURCES • FUNDS 

ACADEMY FILM SCHOLARS PROGRAM: 

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences 
is looking for 2 film scholars to grant 
$25,000 each. Program was created to 
"stimulate & support the creation of new, 
innovative & significant works of film scholar- 
ship." Proposed projects may be for books, 
multimedia presentations, curatorial projects, 
electronic disks or Internet sites & must be in 
English. Only established scholars, writers, 
historians & researchers will be considered; 
grants are not available to students. 
Deadline: Aug. 31 (postmarked). Contact: 
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, 
(310) 247-3010; www.oscars.org/founda 
tion/filmscholars 



CAMARGO FOUNDATION in France is a 
center for the benefit of scholars who wish 
to pursue studies in the humanities and 
social sciences related to French and fra- 
cophone cultures. Foundation also sup- 
ports creative projects by visual artists and 
photographers. Foundation offers at no 
cost 1 1 furnished apartments, a reference 
library and artists studio, a composer's stu- 
dio and a darkroom. Application deadline is 
Jan 15 for the following academic year. 
For informational brochure and application 
form write to: The Camargo Foundation, 
Mr. William Reichard, 125 Park Square 
Court, 400 Sibley Street, Saint Paul, MN 
55101-1928. 



of the application deadline. Applicants must 
be at least 21 years of age. 2004 
Deadlines: Feb 3, May 4, August 3, Nov 3. 
Contact: The Durfee Foundation, 1453 
Third Street, Ste. 312, Santa Monica, CA 
90401; (310) 899-5120; fax: 899- 
5121 ;admin@durfee.org; www.durfee.org 

EXPERIMENTAL TV CENTER offers comple- 
tion grants, technical assistance & presenta- 
tion funds to electronic media/film artists & 
organizations in New York State. Programs 
provide partial assistance; maximum amount 
varies. Presentations must be open to public; 
Deadlines: vary with program. Contact: 
Program Dir., ETVC, 109 Lower Fairfield Rd„ 
Newark Valley, NY 1381 1: (607)687-4341; 



Go On, We Dare You 



With awards season just around the corner, Robert 
Keston, creator of the Connecticut-based Director's View 
Film Festival (DVFF), has decided to address an issue 
long lamented but seldom remedied: the lack of opportu- 
nities for women in film. The new contest "We Dare YOU 
to Make That Film!" is open to women directors and 
screenwriters who are ready to make their first feature 
film. "There are so many talented women filmmakers who 
just need the extra boost," says Wendy Lambert, president of the contest's co- 
sponsor Palace Digital Studios. Winners will be announced in spring 2004, and 
production will start in late summer. See listing for more information. 



CREATIVE CAPITAL FOUNDATION accept- 
ing proposals for its 2004-05 grant cycle 
supporting work in the visual arts and 
film/video. Grants for performing arts and 
emerging fields will be available in 2005. To 
apply, artists must submit an Inquiry Form, 
available on the foundation's website 
February 16, 2004; deadline for Inquiry 
Forms is March 1 5, those invited to apply will 
be notified in June 2004. www.creative-capi 
tal.org; info@creative-capital.org. 

DURFEE FOUNDATION'S ARTISTS' 
RESOURCE FOR COMPLETION GRANTS 

provide short-term assistance to artists liv- 
ing in LA County who wish to enhance work 
for a specific opportunity that may signifi- 
cantly benefit their careers. Artists in any 
discipline are eligible to apply. Applicant 
must already have secured an invitation 
from an established organization to present 
the proposed work. The work must be 
scheduled for presentation within 6 months 



etc@experimentaltvcenter.org or download 
applications and guidelines at www.experi 
mentaltvcenter.org 

FLINTRIDGE FOUNDATION AWARDS FOR 
VISUAL ARTISTS: The awards honor visual 
artists who live & work in California, Oregon, 
& Washington & whose work demonstrates 
high artistic merit for 20 yrs. or more. The 
next awards cycle is 2005/2006. Five 
artists from CA and five from OR/WA will 
be selected to receive unrestricted grants of 
$25,000 each. Applicants should work in 
the disciplines of fine arts or craft media & 
have sustained a 9-months-per-year resi- 
dency in CA, OR, or WA for the last three 
yrs. Artists cannot be of current nat'l 
renown. To receive application information, 
mail, fax, or email your contact information 
(name, address, telephone #, email) with a 
requet to be placed on the mailing list. 
Flintridge Foundation Awards for Visual 
Artists, 1040 Lincoln Ave., Ste. 100, 



March 2004 | The Independent 67 



THE DIE IS CAST 




^^^J^^i^LlS 



STANDBY 

PROGRAM 

AFFORDABLE SERVICES FOR 1 

I ARTISTS & ORGANIZATIONS 

Standby provides artists & independent 
makers access to state-of-the-art media 
services at top-rated post-production 
studios at discounted rates. 



AUDIO & VIDEO 

POST PRODUCTION 

BROADCAST QUALITY EDITING 

DIGITAL EFFECTS 

SOUND DESIGN 

FILM TO TAPE TRANSFERS 

VIDEO CONVERSIONS 

DUPLICATION 

WEB & MULTI-MEDIA SERVICES 

DVD AUTHORING 

ARTSTREAM 

STREAMING MEDIA HOSTING 

TECHNICAL CONSULTATION 



CELEBRATING 20 YEARS! 



135 W 26th St 12th fl 

New York, NY 10001 

Phone (212) 206 78S8 

INFO@STANDBY.ORG 



Pasadena. CA 91103; fax: (626) 585- 
001 1: FFAVA@flintndgeFoundation.org 

FUND FOR JEWISH DOCUMENTARY FILM- 
MAKING: offers grants up to $50,000 for 
completion of original doc films & videos that 
interpret Jewish history, culture & identity to 
diverse public audiences. Applicants must be 
U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Priority 
given to works-in-progress addressing criti- 
cal issues, can be completed within 1 year of 
award & have broadcast potential. Deadline: 
March 4, 2004. Contact: Kim Bistrong. Nat'l 
Foundation for Jewish Culture, 330 7th Ave., 
12th fl., NY, NY 10001: (212) 629-0500 x. 
205: Kbistrong@Jewishculture.org: 
www.jewishculture.org 

GRAND MARNIER FILM FELLOWSHIPS are 
awarded to graduate film students enrolled in 
an educational institution in the U.S. (exclud- 
ing CA and TX) for work in filmmaking, video, 
or critical writing. Three awards of $5,000 
each will be given to students who excel in 
either film, video or critical studies. Award to 
be presented at the New York Film Festival. 
Forms online (www.filmlinc.org) or contact: 
Grand Marnier Film Fellowships. Film Society 
of Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th St., 4th.. N.Y.. 
NY 1 0023-6595. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE 
(ITVS) funds and presents independently 
produced programming for public television 
(PBS). ITVS seeks projects that take creative 
risks, spark public dialogue and serve under- 
served audiences. All genres are eligible, 
including documentary, drama animation and 
innovative combinations. For details on our 
2004 funding initiatives. visit 
www.itvs.org/producer/funding.html. 

NAATA ANNUAL OPEN CALL FOR PRO- 
DUCTION FUNDING: Application and 
guidelines available now. This round of 
funding is for applicants w/public televi- 
sion projects in production &/or postpro- 
duction phases. Projects in research & 
development or script development phas- 
es are not eligible to apply. Awards will 
average $20,000 to $50,000. though 
exceptions may be made. Deadline: July 
25, 2004. 5 p.m. (receipt, not postmark) 
For application & guidelines, go to 
www.naatanet.org, or email mediafund@ 
naatanet.org or call (415) 863-0814 x22 
w/ your name, mailing address, phone, fax 
& email to be added to our mailing list. 
There is no deadline for completion funds. 



PAUL ROBESON FUND FOR INDEPEN- 
DENT MEDIA solicits projects addressing 
critical social & political issues w/ goal of 
creating social change. Funding for radio 
projects in all stages of production; film & 
video projects in preproduction or distribu- 
tion stages only. Grants range from $3,000- 
$8,000. Deadline: May 15. Contact: Trinh 
Duong, The Funding Exchange. 666 
Broadway, #500. NY, NY 10012; (212) 
529-5300. 

THE VIDEOMAKER AWARD 2005 call for 
entries is announced by BAVC. Formerly 
known as the Artist Equipment Access 
Award (AEA), The VideoMaker Award is 
BAVC's in-kind equipment and education 
access grant for innovative video/ new 
media projects in their post production 
phase. Awardees recieve a grant of $3,500 
worth of access to BAVC's state-of-the-art 
media facility and education programs. 
$2,500 can go towards suites and services 
and $1,000 can go towards BAVC classes. 
BAVC takes special interest in artists work- 
ing on projects in association with communi- 
ty groups or about community issues and 
groups of artists working in collaboration. 
Deadline: August 27th, 2004. Contact: 
Laurel Frank at (415) 552-2120 orlau 
rel@bavc.org; www.bavc.org 

VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP MEDIA 
CENTER in Rochester, NY, accepts proposals 
on an ongoing basis for its Upstate Media 
Regrant Program. NO-TV fest (for film and 
video artists), SMARTFEST (Student 
film/video festival), and residencies for 
Artists. The Media Center provides equip- 
ment and services in its access program, 
including low cost 16mm film to video (most 
formats) transfers. For more information call 
Rich Delia Costa at (585) 442-8676. 

WRITER'S FILM PROJECT: Sponsored by 
Paramount Pictures, the WFP offers fiction, 
theater & film writers the opportunity to begin 
a career in screenwritmg. Up to five writers 
will be chosen to participate & each will 
recieve a $20,000 stipend to cover his or her 
living expenses. Deadline is May 15, 2004. 
Applications must be sent by mail only. 
Contact: Chesterfield WFP. 1 1 58 26th St.. 
PMB 544, Santa Monica, CA 90403: 213- 
683-3977: www.chesterfield-co.com. 



WWW.AIVF.ORG 



68 The Independent | March 2004 



i 



March 



DOC DIALOGUE: 

CORPORATE FINANCING 

when: Thurs. March 1 1, 6:30-8:30p.m. 
where: AIVF 

cost: $10 members/$25 general 
Join guest speaker Dan Sherret, CEO 
of EVENT TV, to learn how to navi- 
gate the Inc. world in search of film 
dollars. Hosted by filmmaker and 
Documentary Doctor Fernanda Rossi. 

IN BRIEF: 

PRODUCTION 
LEGAL ISSUES 

when: Tues. March 16, 

6:30-8:30p.m. 

where: AIVF 
cost: $40/$25 AIVF members. 
Advanced purchase is highly recom- 
mended. www.aivf.org/store or call 
212/807-1400x301. 
The AIVF Producers Legal Series is 
moderated and co-produced by enter- 
tainment attorney Innes Smolansky, 
who is joined by a panel of industry 
professionals. These small group ses- 
sions answer common questions and 
connect producers to individuals and 
resources. This session deals with the 
financial and business structure of 
private placement deals, securities 
laws, and disclosure documents. 








AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 

NEW YORK UNDERGROUND 

FILM FESTIVAL 

when: March 5-11 

where: Anthology Film Archive 

The New York Underground Film 

Festival returns to Anthology for its 



11th year, featuring premieres of doc- 
umentaries, features, shorts, experi- 
mental works, installations, live music 
& multimedia shows, www.nyuff.org 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 
SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 

when: March 7-15 
where: Austin Convention Center 
With groundbreaking films, panel dis- 
cussions, and a comprehensive trade 
show, SXSW Film Festival is for any- 
one with a passion for movies. 
www.sxsw.com 

AIVF CO-SPONSORS: 
AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN 
IN CINEMA ANNUAL FILM 
FESTIVAL 2003 

when: March 4-6 
where: Tribeca Film Center 
The AAWIC Film Festival is devoted 
to fostering continual awareness of 
minority women in cinema. The festi- 
val showcases features, documen- 
taries, shorts, and animation by 
African, Latino, and Asian Diaspora 
women, www.aawic.org 

AMC MEDIA DEMOCRACY 
WEEK 

when: March 14-20 
The Alliance for Community Media is 
designating March 14-20, 2003 as 
Media Democracy Week. Access cen- 
ters around the country will join in 
reaching out to the communities 
through various activities to educate 
and advocate on behalf of media 
democracy, www.alliancecm.org 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT: 

FILMS AT LINCOLN CENTER 

AIVF members may attend select 
series at a discounted rate— just $5 per 
ticket. Bring your membership card to 
the box office! www.filmlinc.com 




AIVF'S MASTER 
CLASS SERIES 

AIVF presents our narrative 
film workshop. Each session 
includes an in-depth glimpse 
into a specific, independent film 
as relayed by the producers and 
directors who created them, fol- 
lowed by break-out sessions 
with attendees. 

See www.aivf.org for details. 



reach AIVF... 

Filmmakers' Resource Library 
hours: Wed. (3rd of every month) 
1 1 -9, or by apt to AIVF members 
Tue. &Thur. 11-6. 

The AIVF office is located at 

304 Hudson St. (between Spring & 

Vandam) 6th fl., in New York City. 

Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 
houses hundreds of print and 
electronic resources, from essential 
directories & trade magazines to 
sample proposals & budgets. 

By Phone: (212)807-1400 
Recorded information available 
24/7; operator on duty Tues.-Thurs. 
2-5 p.m. 

By internet: www.aivf.org; 
info@aivf.org 



March 2004 | The Independent 69 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide an 
opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share 
war stories, and connect with the AIVF 
community across the country. 

Visit www.aivf.org/regional for an over- 
view of the broad variety of Regional 
Salon programs. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon 
leader to confirm date, time, and location 
of the next meeting. 

Albany /Troy, NY: 
Upstate Independents 

When: First Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Arcs Center of the Capital 
Region 265 River Street, Troy, NY 
Contact: Jeff Burns, (518) 366-1538 

albany@aivf.org 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Redlight Cafe 

553 Amsterdam Ave. 

Contact: Mark Smith, (404) 352-4225 xl2 

atlanta@aivf.org; www.imagefv.org 

Austin, TX: 

Contact: Jen White, (512) 917-3027 
austin@aivf.org 

Boston, MA: Center for 
Independent Documentary 

Contact: Susan Walsh. (781) 784-3627 
boston@aivf.org 

Boulder, CO: 

"Films for Change" Screenings 

When: First Tuesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Boulder Public Library 

1000 Arapahoe 

Contact: Michael Hill. 

(303) 442-8445 xlOO; boulder@aivf.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays, 6:30 p.m. 

Where: Charleston Count)' Library 

68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841; or 

Peter Wenrworth. charleston@aivf.org 

Cleveland, OH: 

Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota, (216) 651-7315; cleveland@ai\f.org 
www.ohiofilms.com 

Columbia, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers, (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivf.org 



Dallas, TX: 

Video Association of Dallas 

When: Bi-Monthly 

Contact: Bart Weiss. (214) 428-8700 

dallas@aivf.org 

Edison, NJ: 

Where: Passion River Productions, 
190 Lincoln Hwy. 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732)321-0711 
edison@aivf.org; www. passionriver.com 

Fort Wayne, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 691-3258; fortwayne@aivf.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays. 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Mary Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivf.org 

Huntsville, AL: 

Contact: Charles White, (256) 895-0423 
huntsville@aivf.org 

Jefferson County, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby. (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounty@aivf.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska 
Independent Film Project 

When: Second Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. 
Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 
Contact: Jared Miliary, lincoln@aivf.org, 
(402) 467-1077, wwu-.nifp.org 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

When: Third Mondays, 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV, 1653 18th St.. 

Santa Monica 

Contact: Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389; losangeles@aivf.org 

Milwaukee, Wl: Milwaukee 
Independent Film Society 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 

Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center, 

2821 North 4th, Room 140 

Contact: Laura Gembolis 

(414) 688-2375; milwaukee@aivf.org 

www.mifs.org/salon 

Portland, OR: 

Where: Hollywod Theatre 

Contact: David Bryant. (503) 244-4225 

portland@aivf.org 

Rochester, NY: 

Where: Visual Studies Workshop 

Contact: Liz Lehmann 

(585) 377-1 109; rochester@aivf.org 



San Diego, CA: 

When: Monthly 

Where: Media Arts Center, 921 25th 

Street 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo 

(619) 230-1938; sandiego@aivf.org 

San Francisco, CA: 

Contact: Tami Saunders 

(650) 271-0097; sanfrancisco@aivf.org 

Seattle, WA: Seattle Indie Network 

When: Bi-Monthly 

Where: Wiggly World and 91 1 Media Arts 

Center 

Contact: Heather Ayres. (206) 200-0933; 

Wes Kim, (206) 719-6261; seattle@aivf.org 

Tucson, AZ: 

Contact: Rachel Sharp, (520) 906-7295 
tucson@aivf.org 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres, DC Salon hotline. 
(202) 661-7145, washingtondc@aivf.org 



Upstate Independents 

This past year has been very 
eventful for our salon. We started 
out the year with guest speaker 
Michael Ellenbogen of Focus 
Features. In February, Len Clayton, 
art director of Station Agent spoke 
with us. Both Clayton and 
Ellenbogen have ties with Ul 
because they started their careers 
in Albany. Our membership is a 
steady one hundred and fifty and 
we now have about three to four 
film events a month— many of them 
indie productions-which was 
unheard of ten years ago. The state 
film office is now working on a 
Regional Film Commission, which 
is very exciting and very much 
needed in an area so full of 
aspiring filmmakers and media 
makers. 

Deb Shufelt 

Upstate Independents 

Membership Chair 



70 The Independent | March 2004 



AIVF THANKS 



The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) provides a wide range of programs and services for independ- 
ent moving image makers and the media community, including The Independent and a series of resource publications, sem- 
inars and workshops, information services, and arts and media policy advocacy. 

None of this work would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



V 



The Academy Foundation 

Adobe Systems, Inc. 

The Caliban Foundation 

City of New York Dept. of Cultural Affairs 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Home Box Office 

The Jewish Communal Fund 



John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

The New York Community Trust 

New York Foundation for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

Panasonic USA 

Sony Electronics Corporation 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 



Business/Industry Members: AL: Cypress Moon Productions; AZ: Duck 
Soup Productions; CA: Adobe Systems, Inc., Eastman Kodak Co.; Groovy 
Like a Movie; The Hollywood Reporter; SJPL Films, Ltd.; Ultimatum 
Entertainment; CO: Pay Reel; DC: 48 Hour Film Project; FL: E.M. 
Productions; IL: Roxie Media Corp.; Urban Work Productions; IN: The 
Storyteller Workshop; MA: Escape TV; Glidecam Industries; MD: 
NewsGroup, Inc. Ml: 10th Street Productions; Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; 
Michael Kuentz Communications; NH: Kinetic Films; NJ: Alternative Media 
& Resources International; Lumiere Media NV: Broadcast Productions; NY: 
All In One Productions; Analog Digital International, Inc.; Arc Pictures; Arts 
Engine, Inc.; Bluprint Films; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cataland Films; 
Cypress Films; D. R. Reiff and Associates; DNT 88 Productions; 
Docurama; Downtown Avid; Film Video Arts; Forest Creatures 
Entertainment; Fred Siegel CPA; Free Dream Films; Getcast.com; 
Greenwich Street Productions; HBO; IdDigEnt; Interflix; Karin Bacon 
Events; Lighthouse Creative; Lightworks Producing Group; Mad Mad Judy; 
Metropolis Film Lab; Moxie Firecracker Films; Off Ramp Films, Inc.; 
Outside in July, Inc.; Persona Films, Inc.; Post Typhoon Sky, Inc.; Robin 
Frank Management; Roja Productions; Triune Pictures; Wildlight 
Productions; OR: Art Institute Portland; PA: Cubist Post & Effects; Rl: The 
Revival House; VA: Dig Productions; Kessler Productions; Wl: Image 
Pictures, LLC; Tweedee Productions 

Nonprofit Members: AL: Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; CA: East Bay 
Media Center, Berkeley; Film Arts Foundation; Filmmakers Alliance; 
International Buddhist Film Festival; ITVS; LEF Foundation; NAATA/Media 
Fund; The Berkeley Documentary Center; San Francisco Jewish Film 
Festival; USC School of Cinema and TV; CO: Denver Center Media; CT: 
New Haven Film Festival; DC: Media Access Project; School of 
Communication, American University; Spark Media; FL: Florida State 
University Film School; Sarasota Film Festival; University of Tampa; GA: 
Image Film and Video Center; Savannah College of Art and Design; IL: Art 
Institute of Chicago; Community Film Workshop; Community Television 
Network; Department of Comuication/ NLU; Kartemquin Films; Light 
Bound; John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation; KS: Kansas City 
Filmmakers Jubilee; KY: Appalshop; MA: CCTV; Documentary Educational 
Resources; Emerson College, Visual & Media Arts; Long Bow Group; Lowell 
Telecommunications Group; LTC; MD: 7 Oils Production; Laurel Cable 
Network; Silverdocs: AFI Discovery Channel Doc Festival; Ml: Ann Arbor 
Film Festival; MN: IFP/MSP; Walker Art Center; MO: DHTV; Webster 
University Film Series; MS: Magnolia Independent Film Festival; NC: 
Cucalorus Film Foundation; Duke University, Film & Video; University of 
North Carolina, Wilmington; NE: Nebraska Independent Film Project/AIVF 
Salon Lincoln; Ross Film Theater, UN-Lincoln; NJ: Black Maria Film 



Festival; College of New Jersey, Department of Communication Studies; 
Freedom Film Society; NM: University of New Mexico; NY: American 
Museum of Natural History; Bronx Council on the Arts; Center for New 
American Media; Chicks with Flicks Film Festival; Cinema Arts Centre; 
Communications Society; Cornell Cinema; Council for Positive Images, Inc.; 
Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; Department of Media 
Study SUNY Buffalo; Donnell Media Center; Downtown Community 
Television; Educational Video Center; Experimental Television Center; Film 
and Video Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Film Video 
Arts; Firelight Media; International Film Seminars; Learning Matters; Listen 
Up!; LMC-TV; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; National Black 
Programming Consortium; National Museum of the American Indian; 
National Video Resources; New School, Dept. of Communications/Film 
Department; New York Women in Film and Television; Non Profit Media 
Group; Paper Tiger; POV/The American Documentary; Squeaky Wheel; 
Standby Program; Stony Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; United 
Community Centers; Upstate Films; Witness; Women Make Movies; OH: 
Athens Center for Film And Video; Independent Pictures/AIVF Ohio Salon; 
Cleveland Film Society; Media Bridges Cincinatti; School of Film, Ohio 
University; Wexner Center; OR: Art Institute Portland; Media Arts, MHCC; 
Northwest Film Center; PA: DUTV Cable 54; Pennsylvania Council on the 
Arts; Prince Music Center; Scribe Video Center; WYBE Public TV 35; Rl: 
Flickers Arts Collaborative; Rhode Island School of Design; SC: Hybrid 
Films; South Carolina Arts Commission; TX: Austin Film Society; CAGE, 
Dept. of Radio and Film; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Worldfest; UT 
Sundance Institute; VT: The Noodlehead Network; WA: Seattle Central 
Community College; Thurston Community Television; Bermuda: Bermuda 
International Film Festival; Canada: The Banff Centre Library; India: 
Foundation for Universal Responsibility; Singapore: Ngee Ann Polytechnic 
Library 

Friends of AIVF: Angela Alston, Desmond Andrews, Anonymous, David 
Bemis; Adrianne Brown Ryan, Carl Canner, Liz Canner, Hugo Cassirer, Paul 
Devlin, Arthur Dong, Aaron Edison, Paul Espinosa, Phoebe Ferguson, 
Karen Freedman, Nicole Guillemet, Peter Gunthel, David Haas, Kyle Henry, 
Lila Jackson, John Kavanaugh, Amelia Kirby, Amie Knox, Stan Konowitz, 
Leonard Kurz, Lyda Kuth, Bart Lawson, Regge Life, William Lyman, Diane 
Markrow, Tracy Mazza, Leonard McClure, Daphne McDuffie-Tucker, Jim 
McKay, Robert Millis, Diane Murphy, Elizabeth Peters, Mimi Pickering, 
David Reynolds, Robert Richter, Hiroto Saito, Larry Sapadin, John B. 
Schwartz, NatSegaloff, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Gail Silva, Innes Smolansky, 
Kit-Yin Snyder, Barbara Sostaric, Miriam Stern, George Stoney, Cathy & 
James Sweitzer, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Karl Trappe, Cynthia 
Travis, Jane Wagner, Bart Weiss 



the list 



What Your Mother Taught You 

By Jessica McDowell 



She taught you how to speak, to walk, and, hopefully, how to chew 
with your mouth closed, but what role did your mother-for most 

of us, the first female influence in our lives-play in how you 

think about film? In this issue, The Independent asks filmmakers 

to describe what their mothers taught them about film. 



As a teenager. I traveled with my mother, sister, and 
brother [filmmaker Ira Sachs] to Europe several times. For 
hours we would wander these cities and towns that seemed 
to flaunt their history like an aging Hollywood diva that 
looks good in any light. My mother would guide our gaze 
to a cracking cobblestone sidewalk or castle rampart just 
before the sun went down, and somehow I would begin to 
see abstract beaut}' within the frame of my 35mm camera. 
She would wonder what stories those buildings might tell 
if they could speak. Years later. I continue to look and lis- 
ten, knowing that it was she who sparked my curiositv. 

— Lvnne Sachs. Filmmaker. Investigation of a Flame 

I told my mother I was gay. Then I told her I wanted to be 
a filmmaker. That was a double whammv! But she recov- 
ered by becoming the official archivist of Trembling Before 
G-d. She is now on Volume 3 of newspaper clippings. Jewish 
moms need bragging rights. 

— Sandi DuBowski. Director, Trembling Before G-d 

Sadly, nothing for my mom. who isn't much interested in 
film. Definitely from my dad. though— he bought a new 
Super 8 camera the day I was born to take pictures of me. 
and spent the time in the waiting room reading the 
manual for the camera as he anticipated my arrival. He 
later gave me the camera when I was a film student in col- 
lege, which I used for my thesis. My film was called Baby 
Movie, about how being born and raised is mediated, meas- 
ured, and recorded with technology. 

— Melanie Crean, Director of Eyebeam's 
Moving Image Studios 

I come from a line of women who love to tell stories around 
the kitchen table. My mother and her sisters taught me 
about drama and what truly makes an interesting story. I 
come from a large family in which even-one talks at the 



same time— so, when you get your opportunity to speak it 
better be interesting. I guess they taught me about sound- 
bites, loglines, and pitches too. Thev also gave me enough 
material to keep me making films for the rest of my life. 
— Elisha Maria Miranda, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of 
Chica Luna Producdons/Chica Sol Films, LLC 

My love of film comes from my grandmother Virginia- 
Growing up, we would see two or three films during a good 
weekend. She even sneaked me into my first R-rated double 
feature: Dog Day Afternoon and One Flew Over the Cuckoo ' ' Nest. 
—Marc Henrv Johnson, Executive Producer, Colorvision 

Co-Producer, Brother to Brother 

For a period in the early 1970s, I would occasionally go to 
the movies with my mother. In that era, it seemed like 
there was a vein of dark, Holh-wood "social commentary" 
films that managed to reflect the despair of the times 
without depicting any of the idealism. My mother would 
patiently sit through these heart-wrenching affairs but at 
the end would invariably shake her head and say, "I don't 
know why they can't make happier movies." At the time, I 
thought this was hopelessly naive of her. 

As a middle-aged filmmaker, I've come to see her point. 
Portraying despair without a glimmer of hope, sin without 
the redemption, just doesn't interest me as a filmmaker. 
Where's the uplift? Where's the rallying cry? Where's the 
celebration? My mother passed away almost ten years ago. 
I bet she'd be surprised to see how much I've focused on 
"her themes" in my work— faith, community, creativity. 
Just like she used to want to see. 

—Beth Harrington, Filmmaker, Don 't Forget This Song: 
The Story of the Original Carter Family (in-progress) 

Jessica McDowell is an intern at The Independent. 



72 The Independent | March 2004 



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April 2004 | Volume 27 Number 3 | www.aivf.org 



contents 




Features 



BEYOND SESAME STREET 

After over thirty years of programming, 
what's happening to public T.V.? 
[by Deirdre Day-MacLeod] 

DOUBLE VISION 

The University of Texas's film program 
adds film institute to its slate. 
tby John Pavlus] 

DIVERSITY INITIATIVES 

Are recent efforts to make the indie world 
more diverse really making a difference? 
[by Angela Tucker] 

46 CLEARING THE FOG 

Errol Morris discusses Robert S. McNamara 
and the politics behind The Fog of War. 
[by Llvia Bloom] 



AVF 



association of independent 
video and filmmakers 



Photos: PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell, play- 
wright/activist Eve Ensler, POV Executive Director Cara 
Mertes (courtesy of PBS); filmmakers Jim McKay & Effie T. 
Brown (Jeff Vespa/Wirelmage.com); Fog of War director 
Errol Morris (Sumaya Agha, courtesy of Sony Pictures 
Entertainment, Inc.). 

Page 5 photos: Orlando Bagwell's Citizen King premieres 
on PBS on the 75th anniversary of Martin Luther King's birth 
(Flip Schulke/Corbis); "Having a Ball" by Carrie Mae Weems, 
whose videos are showing at MoMA this month; the 
Meatrix's anti-factory webtoon parodies The Matrix (Free 
Range Graphics); The Spirit of Gravity screened at the 2004 
Black Maria Film and Video Festival (Victor Bellamo and 
David Pace). 

On the Cover: Mister Rogers Goes to School was an 
Emmy award-winning week of programs from Mister Rogers' 
Neighborhood which aired on PBS in 2002 (Walt Seng). 



April 2004 | The Independent 3 



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To take advantage of this offer 
log on to: www.subnow.com/ 
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and mention The Independent. 

(new subscriptions only) 



contents 




Upfront 



EDrTOR'S LETTER 

NEWS ITVS' LlnCS 2004 initiative; Scenarios 
USA's student contest; PBS and the FCC's 
simulcast requirements; Bill Moyers to leave PBS. 
[by Alyssa Worsham, Sonya Fatah, 
Cynthia Kane] 

first PERSON One newsman's view from 

the trenches. 

tby John DeNatale] 

PROFILE Filmmaker Orlando Bagwell puts down 
his camera for a seat at the Ford Foundation. 
[by Erin Torneo] 

PROFILE Seminal photographer Carrie Mae 
Weems transports her still life to video. 
[by Theresa Everline] 

DOC DOCTOR Is a rejection really an invitation? 
Financing PBS-style documentaries. 
[by Fernanda Rossi] 

FUNDERFAQ National Center for Outreach. 
[by Jason Guerrasio] 

SITE SEEING The Meatrix: A hilarious web 
cartoon with a serious social agenda. 
[by Michael I Schiller] 

FESTIVAL CIRCUIT Black Maria Film and Video 
Festival covers sixty cities in six months, 
[by Derek Loosvelt] 

BOOKS Filmmakers & Financing: Business 
Plans for Independents 
[by Amanda Doss] 



Departments 



LEGAL A re-primer on intellectual property law. 
[by Monique Cormier] 

POUCY PBS in the Republican's court. 
[by Matt Dunne] 

TECHNOLOGY Avid Xpress Pro. 
[by Greg Gilpatrick] 

THE LIST Memorable PBS moments. 
[by Jessica McDowell] 

Listings 

FESTIVALS 

FILMS/TAPES WANTED 
64 CLASSIFIEDS 
66 NOTICES 

AIVF 

AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
70 SALONS 



April 2004 | The Independent 5 






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■ I FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 

Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 

[publisher's awl org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Carroll 

[editor@ahrl.org] 

Managing Editor: Shana Liebman 
[independent S aivt.org ] 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 
[jasan@aiyl.org ] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 
[su7ytl00P@h0tmail.com] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 
[josh@aiyl.org] 

Editorial Interns: Sonya Fatah. Jessica McDowell, 

Timothy Schmidt 
[erJitorialintem@aiyl.org: nobc8S@aiyf.org: graphics@aiyl.org] 

Contributing Editors: 

Pat Aufderheide, Maud Kersnowski. Bo Mehrad. 

Cara Mertes. Robert L Seigel. Esq. 

Proofreader: Susan Freel 
[usinsusan@yahoo.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

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7he Independent flm 4 video Monty (ISSN 1077-8918) is published month- 
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Foundation for Independent Video and Rim (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) dedicated 
to the advancement of media arts and artists. Subscription to the maga- 
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Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). the national pro- 
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Publication of any ad in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement 
AIVF/ FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. All contents are 
copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film Inc. Reprints 
require written permission and acknowtedgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/ FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Sonia Haifa, program 
director; Priscilla Grim, membership director; Bo Mehrad, information 
services director: Greg Gilpatrick technology consultant; Cynthia Carrion. 
Catherine Gulacsy. Sarah Monteagudo. Kristy Puchko. interns; AIVF/ FIVF 
legal counsel: Robert I. Freedman, Esq.. Cowan. DeBaets. Abrahams & 
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AIVF Board of Directors: Liz Canner, Anne del Castillo. Doug Hawes-Davis. 
Reggie Life. Michelle Ueek Elizabeth Peters (ex officio), Miriam Stem. 
Simon Tan. Rahdi Taylor. Elizabeth Thompson, Jim Vincent Bart Weiss. 

c Foundation for Independent Video & Film. Inc. 2004 
Visit The Independent online at: vvww.aivf.org 



6 The Independent | April 2004 




Editor's 
Letter 

I almost lost my 
mind the first 
time I saw Easy 
Reader on 

Electric Company, 
which was my 
favorite PBS 
show when I 
was a little girl. I 
liked Zoom, too. And Sesame Street was 
cool. But Electric Company was just 
crazy. Like a lot of hippy kids (though 
my parents would insist to this day that 
they are not and never have been 
hippies; despite the fact that they are 
artists with long hair who pretty 
much live in the wilderness), the focus 
was never on television when I was 
growing up. We did have one, 
although I don't remember watching 
it all that much. What I do remember 
is that when Rita Moreno screamed, 
"HEEEEEY YOU GUUUUUUUYS!" I 
would sit there absolutely transfixed, 
waiting for Easy Reader to glide across 
the screen. 

Easy Reader, played by the very 
suave but then little-known actor 
Morgan Freeman, was, I decided, my 
birthfather. I was adopted, you see, 
and my parents told me that I had a 
white birthmother and a black 
birthfather. Aha! There he is! Duh. Of 
course he would be some cool cat 
pimping books and the benefits of 
reading. His skin was the color of bit- 
tersweet chocolate and he wore dark 
sunglasses, a black turtleneck, and a 
light-colored jacket with matching 
suit pants. He was almost obscenely 
graceful, and looked like he was walk- 
ing on water as he quietly chanted, 
"Easy Reader, that's my name." 

I could go on about Easy Reader, 
which would include the sad news 
that he was, in fact, not my birthfather. 
The point is that Electric Company and 
PBS had a profound impact on my 
life. Before Easy Reader, I can remem- 
ber drifting off to sleep in my moth- 
er's arms while she and my father 



watched Masterpiece Theater's I, 
Claudius. That dude was crazy. And 
mean. Even though I was so young at 
the time, I can still clearly recall how 
things looked on that show— the tall 
and bellowing men, yellow-haired 
women, togas and green crowns of vine, 
the sharp accents and personal con- 
flicts. 

This issue of The Independent looks 
not just at PBS, but public and inde- 
pendent media in general— the concept, 
construct, and obligation of it to us, 
and us to it. What does it mean to make 
a documentary about the former 
Secretary of Defense— the guy who was 
in charge of making big decisions that 
involved guns and defending the citi- 
zens of America against the rest of the 
world? Writer Livia Bloom asked Errol 
Morris about the making of his latest 
work, The Fog of War. 

Freelance writer Deirdre Day- 
MacLeod looks at the history, mission, 
progress, and future of public television 
as an entity, while Angela Tucker pro- 
files four different diversity initiative 
programs in order to find out what it is 
they do, how and if they benefit minori- 
ties, and what is the notion of "diversi- 
ty" in general. John Pavlus reports on 
the double-consciousness of the film 
program at the University of Texas at 
Austin. 

Independent policy columnist Matt 
Dunne addresses the future of the 
CPB under Republican rule, and 
Thirteen/WNET Executive Producer 
John DeNatale gives a first-person 
account of his experience coming up 
through the ranks and trenches of 
public television. Profiles include 
Orlando Bagwell, the newly-appoint- 
ed program officer of Media, Arts and 
Culture at the Ford Foundation, and 
brilliant photographer cum video/ 
filmmaker Carrie Mae Weems. 

Enjoy, and thanks for reading 
The Independent, 
Rebecca Carroll 
Editor-in-Chief 




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The Strongest LlnCS 

ITVS MATCHES PRODUCERS WITH PUBLIC TV 
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accepting submissions for its LlnCS 
2004 initiative. The program is 
designed to give local public TV sta- 
tions and independent producers a 
chance to work together by helping 
"the producer and station come to an 
even point and [to] communicate 
effectively," says Robby Fahey, LlnCS 
production manager. "We insist that 
producers maintain editorial control 
of their projects, and stations are 
more willing to allow that because 
ITVS is involved." 

According to the initiative, "LlnCS 
funding ranges from $10,000 to 
$75,000 and may be matched in-kind 
as well as with a producer's secured 
cash— from grants, underwriting, indi- 
vidual donors, and/or out-of-pocket 
cash contributions to the produc- 



Rebecca Lee, in Sun River Homestead, 
a past LlnCS program. 



tion." Projects in any stage of develop- 
ment are eligible, and while series are 
not permitted, all genres are. And, 
unlike other ITVS funding programs, 
like Open Call, the LlnCS initiative 
receives fewer submissions— last year 
they received fifty-three applicants, 
out of which eight were funded. 

Elizabeth Meyer, program manager, 
adds, "Stations have other invaluable 
resources for filmmakers. A station in 
Texas recently loaned LlnCS produc- 
ers some hi-def cameras and access to 
their video editing equipment as an 
in-kind service. These programs also 
can provide an entree into the PBS 
system, especially when you have a sta- 
tion advocating your show. "But the 
producers are not the only beneficiar- 
ies of this arrangement. Because many 
stations are being asked to cut back 
on productions, independent produc- 
ers can provide that extra creativity, 
without the station having to incur 
anything more than in-kind cost. 
While the programs must be of 
national or universal interest, produc- 



ers are encouraged to expand upon 
regional stories, which would appeal 
to the local station's viewers. 

William W. Marcus, of KUFM TV, 
Missoula, Montana, says, "The princi- 
pal advantage to Montana PBS was 
the opportunity to have specific train- 
ing from ITVS on the many require- 
ments for national productions. As a 
small, rural station we had little expe- 
rience in these matters. The LlnCS 
program gave us the confidence that 
we could do work on a national level." 
ITVS tries to make this exchange as 
smooth as possible for both sides. "It's 
the ITVS support system," says Fahey. 
"We are there throughout the process, 
every step of the way, through all the 
paperwork and into production." 

"As independent producers, we ben- 
efited from a 'brain trust' created by 
working with our production funders," 
says Louis Diamond, co-producer of 
performance documentary Brotherman, 
by filmmaker Demetria Royals. "The 
collective insight, expertise, and guid- 
ance gained by working with WQED, 
ITVS, and NBPC was invaluable in 
both shaping and guiding the project 
to completion and bringing it to the 
national PBS audience." 

Launched in 1999, LlnCS has con- 
tinued to promote regionally and cul- 
turally diverse projects from a variety of 
perspectives. Previous LlnCS programs 
include Death of a Shaman, Stranger with 
a Camera, Sun River Homestead, and The 
Weather Underground— which has been 
nominated for an Academy Award this 
year, and will air on PBS as part of ITVS 
"Independent Lens" on April 27, 2004. 

The deadline for LlnCS 2004 applications is 
May 26. For more information visit 
www.itvs.org. 

Scenarios USA 

Scenarios USA, a nonprofit organiza- 
tion devoted to helping kids make 
smarter decisions about sex, 
announced the two winners for their 
"What's The Real Deal" contests on 
February 6, 2004. The contests, which 
took place in south Texas and in 



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Miami, encouraged kids ages twelve to 
twenty-two to submit stories or 
scripts about the problems they face 
at school and at home. 

After reviewing over 200 proposals, 
a national review board composed of 
300 teachers, filmmakers, teenagers, 
and even a Supreme Court justice, nar- 
rowed the pool down to twelve final- 
ists. Then a select panel of twenty 
judges, including teenagers and 
adults, hotly debated the winning two. 
One group of five seniors— Gladys 
Sanchez, Kristal Villarreal, Amanda 
Ramirez, Laura Coria, and Juan Carlos 
"Charlie" Ramirez— from Mission, 
Texas, won for their script about sex 
and relationships, and Katrina Garcia, 
from Miami, also a senior, won for her 
script about bulimia. Actress Carrie 
Anne Moss (The Matrix, Memento) per- 
sonally called the contestants to 
inform them of their awards. They will 
see their short films made by estab- 
lished directors, and they will get to 
participate in the process. 

But these awards are not just for the 
kids who wrote the scripts. Because 
Scenarios USA wants the films to be 
used as teaching aids in schools, they 
involve the entire community in the 
production. Maura Minsky, co-founder 
of Scenarios USA, explains, "On the 
panel, everyone has their own agenda. 
The kids have one opinion, the adults 
have another. But what we find is that 
once the decision is made, the schools 
allow the kids to push the envelope— 
they are not censored. The entire class 
gets involved, and they are mentored on 
the set. Because we want them to use 
the films in the schools, they are filmed 
in the communities where they are set. 
We listen to the kids." 

Ben Younger (Boiler Room, Prime) 
will direct the south Texas film, called 
Someone's Sorrow, in the spring. "My 



Scenarios USA winners from Texas (left 
to right): high school students Gladys 
Sanchez, Laura Coria, Juan Carlos 
Ramirez, Amanda Ramirez, Kristal 
Villarreal, principal Janie Connelly and 
superintendent Jackie Dyer. 



politics are very much in line with 
Scenarios'," he says. "Someone's Sorrow 
is about teen choices— the choices 
about sex, before and after; whether to 
use contraception, whether to have a 
baby. Sometimes they don't even have 
a choice. One girl on the panel 
thought abortion was illegal in Texas. 
This is a film that needs to get made." 

Someone's Sorrow focuses on two 
female best friends who deal with 
their relationships in different ways. 
One couple uses contraception cor- 
rectly and talks about their problems, 
while the other couple is less commu- 
nicative and does not take birth con- 
trol seriously. "Teen pregnancy is a 
common problem in south Texas," 
says Minsky. "The Rio Grande Valley 
is the largest growing metropolis in 
the country, but it is also one of the 
poorest. The script was chosen 
because high pregnancy rates and 
AIDS are serious problems in that 
community, but also because the dia- 
logue is so clever and funny." 

Jamie Babbit (But I'm A Cheerleader, 
Popular) has agreed to direct the 
Miami film, A Memoir to My Former 
Self. "Body issues are a big deal in 
Miami," says Minsky. "And this is our 
first film to deal with the subject. We 
thought it was important for the com- 
munity and beyond." 

The directors work on a volunteer 
basis, and have about two days to 
shoot. Approximately one week is 
devoted to pre-production, and one 
week to two months for development. 
Once the films are finished, the con- 
testants are flown to New York City 
and their films are given a proper 
debut. "Sometimes I think that's 
what the kids are most excited about," 
laughs Minsky. This December, the 
Texas and Miami films will premiere 
with the winner from the Scenarios 
New York City contest, which is still in 
progress. A national contest will take 
place in 2006. 

Scenarios USA stems from 
Scenarios from the Sahel, a West 
African program created by a French 



organization working to fight AIDS. 
The 3,000 Scenarios Against a Virus 
contests were held in Africa during the 
1990s, and in 1998. the films were 
broadcast during the World Cup, 
most likely reaching one hundred mil- 
lion Africans. Scenarios USA has 




adopted a similar approach. In addi- 
tion to being used as teaching aids in 
schools, their films have been seen on 
Showtime, ABC's World News Tonight, 
PBS, NBC, MTV, and Oxygen. 

For more info, visit www.scenariosusa.org 
or contact info@scenariosusa.org; 
866-414-1044. 

Alyssa Worsbam is a freelance writer in 
New York City. 

Bill Moyers Exits PBS 

After a successful thirty-year run in 
public broadcasting, Bill Moyers 
announced that he will retire from 
PBS. Moyers, who currently serves as 
host and executive director of the 
weekly PBS series NOW, will step 
down after the presidential elections. 
President and CEO of PBS Pat 
Mitchell said, "Bill Moyers is one of 
America's most respected journalists. 
Bill and Judith Moyers have produced 
some of PBS's path-breaking televi- 
sion, including/o^e/?/; Campbell and The 
Power of Myth, Close to Home, and 
Becoming American. The list goes on 
and on." Mitchell further spoke on 
behalf of PBS in expressing the net- 
work's gratitude for Movers' most 
recent series work. "We would like to 
thank Bill for his marvelous contribu- 
tion to NOW and wish him well as he 



April 2004 | The Independent 11 



moves into this next phase of work." 
she said, noting that the future of the 
program is undecided. "We are in dis- 




cussions with the executive producer. 
John Siceloff. ' 

Movers' PBS programs have 
addressed a wide variety of topics that 
encourage both public awareness and 
creative thinking. He has received over 
thirty Emmys, the Erik Barnouw 
Award, the George Foster Peabody 
Award, the Gold Baton, and has been 
recognized by the Television Quarterly 
as one of the top ten journalists to 
make a notable impression on televi- 
sion news. Following his departure in 
November. Movers will work on a 
biography of Lyndon B.Johnson. 

—Cynthia Kane 

PBS Seeks Removal 
of FCC's Simulcast 
Requirements 

The Washington-based Association 
for Public Television Stations (APTS) 
is lobbying the Federal Commun- 
ications Commission (FCC) to remove 
the simulcast requirement that is part 
of the transition timeline for commer- 
cial and non-commercial stations to 
go digital. At press time for this arti- 
cle, the FCC still expected Digital 
Television (DTY) licensees to simul- 
cast seventy-five percent of their ana- 
log schedule bv March 1. 2004— a rule 
which mandates stations to broadcast 
their channels simultaneously on digi- 



tal and analog signals. 

Last April, the FCC granted a six 
month extension to public television 
stations that were unable to meet the 
earlier fifty percent simulcast require- 
ment. This year, while there has been no 
apparent movement to change the date, 
public television stations are asking 
that the requirement be annulled. 

John Lawson, President and CEO of 
APTS. a nonprofit organization sup- 
porting the development of public tele- 
vision programming in the US, is con- 
vinced that the rule is counter-produc- 
tive to the FCC's goal of increasing 
viewer adoption of DTV. "We think it's 
bad policy," Lawson says of the simul- 
cast rule. "Requiring us to simply digi- 
talize our analog programming is 
doing the opposite of what is necessary 
to drive consumer acceptance of this 
new technology \" 

DTY is replacing the fifty-year-old 
analog transmission system that is 
qualitatively interior to the over-the-air 
transmission offered by digital services. 
DTY technologv allows much higher 
resolution for images, wider screen for- 
mat, and CD-quality surround-sound 
through compression techniques 
unavailable in analog. DTY can also 
"multi-cast" by offering consumers sev- 
eral viewing options simultaneously at 
a lower resolution. 

Stations against the simulcast rule 
say it hampers their ability to do new 
and innovative high definition pro- 
gramming, which is one of the main 
reasons for the switch to DTY in the 
first place. Thev are driven by a philoso- 
phv of change that involves discontinu- 
ing old channel broadcasting tech- 
niques in order to force the conversion 
on an analog-comfortable public. The 
FCC instated the rule to ensure that 
consumers don't lose their service. 

"The theory," says Rick Chessen, 
Chair of the FCC's DTY Task Force, 
"was [that] it would be more difficult to 
turn off the analog signals if people 
couldn't find their favorite program on 
the digital channels." But pressure from 
a frustrated public television lobby has 



brought the issue to the discussion 
table. Chessen says that a proceeding is 
currently underway at the FCC to dis- 
cuss whether or not the simulcast rule 
should be modified or abolished, but 
he is unable to hint at what the out- 
come will be. 

The FCC licenses 373 public televi- 
sion channels (these include religious 
stations), of which 251 have already 
gone digital, while others have been 
hampered by issues ranging from fund- 
ing and zoning laws, to equipment 
problems, to obtaining international 
clearances. The FCC is concerned with 
increasing the DTY viewer adoption 
rate, which is on the rise as set prices 
come down. Lawson believes that the 
reason for slow consumer acceptance is 
"that there is a lack of awareness that 
high definition is available free. We 
haven't done a very good job of build- 
ing consumer awareness." This is partly 
because public stations have struggled 
to meet the other requirements for the 
transition, but Lawson attributes it 
mainly to poor marketing strategies 
and lack of collaboration between sta- 
tions and other entities like DTV prod- 
uct vendors and the consumer electron- 
ics industry. 

APTS has been encouraged by devel- 
opments in the UK, however, where the 
government made the decision for digi- 
tal conversion at the same time as the 
US. In the UK, an aggressive marketing 
strategy succeeded in quickly converting 
the public to the new technology. 

The FCC hopes to arrive at a deci- 
sion on the simulcast rule sometime 
early this year but Chessen has made it 
clear that, for now. DTY licensees "are 
expected to meet the seventy-five per- 
cent requirement unless the FCC 
makes a decision otherwise." D 

—Sonya Fatah 

Sonya Fatah and Cynthia Kane are editorial 
interns at The Independent. 



CORRECTION: In the March Doc Doctor 
column, we neglected to properly identify 
Cathryn Smith as the filmmaker who shot 
her film in Mali. 



12 The Independent | April 2004 



first person 



What's News? 

BEHIND THE DESK OF A PUBLIC TV PRODUCER 
By John DeNatale 



1983: 1 am an intern ripping wire copy 
from the AP machine and bringing it 
to Robin MacNeil's office at The 
MacNeil/Newsbottr. I read the copy as it 
comes in. The blue ink spits out one 
storyline and then another. My palms 
are sweaty with excitement as I rip and 
read, sort and distribute multiple 
copies to producers on the news team, 
and watch as they are dispatched to 
follow up on certain stories. 

Throughout my summer internship, 
I deliver urgent news reports like the 
attack on the Marines in Beirut and the 
downing of commercial flight 007 over 
Soviet airspace. I have the information 
before anyone else, and I enjoy that. 

The news machine springs into 
action to produce a 6pm feed. In 1983, 
most Americans got their news for the 
first time from TV or radio at the end 
of a workday, six hours after it broke. 

1987: I am in charge of the News Desk 
at The MacNeil/NewsHour. AP BUL- 
LETIN: SPACE SHUTTLE MALFUNC- 
TION. I run to see the CNN live shot of 
the plume. The show's Deputy 
Executive Producer Linda Winslow 
reacts in horror while MacNeil stares in 
silence. The NASA announcer's voice: 
"There appears to be a major malfunc- 
tion at this time." MacNeil turns on his 
heel back toward his office where he 
picks up the telephone. As the news- 
room shifts into high gear. News 
Director Dick Hunt— an avuncular 
journalist who was covering wars before 
I was born— turns to the Executive 
Producer and says in an understated 
tone, "Well Les, there's your lead." 

CNN, which old-timers like Dick 
used to refer to in its messy start-up 
year as the "Chicken Noodle 

WNET Executive Producer John DeNatale. 



Network," has now become the first 
responder to the news and has trans- 
formed the newsroom forever. 

Over the next decade as a reporter and 
then Senior Producer at the 
NewsHour, I experi- 
ence the rush of cover- 
ing big news on 
dozens of occasions. I 
am in the control 
room when the Gulf 
War breaks. I cover the 
stock market crash. I 
enjoy making choices 
to present a story and 
then capturing its 
nuances and si^nifi- 
cance. Simultaneously, 
like everyone in the 
industry, I am a wit- 
ness to the changing process technolo- 
gy continues to take us through, and 
the dramatic new ways and means to 
get closer to personal stories highlight- 
ing the major news events of our times. 

But technology and industry trans- 
formations have brought risks as well 
as benefits. Americans now expect 
instant information and analysis, and 
commercial demands for selling news 
and creating drama and first-person 
stories have altered the landscape and 
playing field for journalists. 

On September 11th, 2001, I 
watched the first tower crumble from 
the street near my apartment in 
Brooklyn. Within an hour, all of 
America and beyond had seen the 
video coverage, while email and web 
news circulated the internet. In evi- 
dence of how we now get information 
through various mediums simultane- 
ously, that morning in September 
2001 I learned from the television that 
the President on Air Force One is hop- 




ping across the Midwest trying to 
avoid a phantom risk just as I receive 
an email saying that our neighbor's 
firefighter husband is missing. 

I produced a story for the NewsHour 
about the impact of 9/11 on one 
Brooklyn neighborhood firehouse, 
and not long after I was asked by 
Thirteen/WNET to work on develop- 
ing a series with Bill Movers about the 
psychological and spiritual aftermath 
of 9/11. The series is called New York 
Voices, and with a small team of staff 
and freelance produc- 
ers, we successfully 
launch a weekly half- 
hour program as well 
as a small documen- 
tary unit (three pro- 
ducers with hand-held 
cameras) to film the 
response of one small 
community to the 
damaging effects of 
9/11. Our budget was 
miniscule by network 
standards, but on 
September 11, 2002, 
Thirteen aired Lessons of September: One 
School Remembers 9/11. 

That documentary is not something 
we could have made in 1983, certainly 
not with such a low price tag, and the 
advancements in technology that 
allow us to cover unique and extraor- 
dinary stories continue to surprise me. 
Today, I am sitting in my office at 
Thirteen with an independent pro- 
ducer who is making his fourth trip to 
Iraq. He has assignments from several 
news organizations with vastly differ- 
ent agendas. The budget constraints 
on New York Voices are a day-to-day 
concern. Yet, here I am with "my man 
in Iraq," as my old friend Dick Hunt 
would have called him, because his 
story about a New York police lieu- 
tenant training Iraqi police outside of 
Baghdad is ideal for the "day-in-the- 
life" vignettes that make New York 
Voices what it is. It will cost me the 
price of his airfare. He himself is sub- 
sidizing it with four or five other 



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hand-tailored assignments. 

Through working for public televi- 
sion I've learned how- important it is to 
get as much value as I can from new- 
technologies while still being support- 
ed by the public television environ- 
ment that allows me to make my best 
judgments as a journalist. But it's the 
independent producer who really sits 
on the horns of the dilemma that pub- 
lic television faces like cost-cutting and 
lowering standards. Commercial and 
cable networks frequently slip into the 
need to hype up the news in a hard sell. 
Man\' independents like my man in 
Iraq say they enjoy working for public 
television because without those com- 
mercial demands, they can concentrate 
on the integrity of the story. They often 
add. "You should see what I have to do 
to make real money." Of course, when 
it comes to public television, the com- 
plaint is always about the money. 

The increased number of channels 
across the board has fragmented its 
audience and provided corporations 
with more advertising opportunities, 
and that drains public television 
sponsorship money. I'm not sure if 
Americans get more insight and per- 
spectives through the multitude of 
outlets, and I do worry as a journalist 
that "news" is a term now often used 
to refer to dramatic and sensational 
versions of what an audience wants to 
see. But I'm basically still optimistic 
about how things have progressed 
since I started in the business. 

Despite media consolidation, frag- 
mented audiences, and the current 
attacks on PBS, there continues to be 
a lot of good journalism on public tel- 
evision, and network television for 
that matter. I chose to stay at public 
television because I wanted to make a 
difference in people's lives and did not 
want to have to make news into enter- 
tainment. I feel fortunate to have been 
able to ride these industry rapids in an 
environment that nevertheless puts 
the journalist and the story first. D 

John DeNatale is Executive Producer of 
New York Voices on Thirteen WXET. 



14 The Independent | April 2004 



profile 



Orlando Bagwell 

READY FOR HIS CLOSE-UP 
By Erin Torneo 



fter twenty years behind 
the lens, Orlando Bagwell 
is putting down his cam- 
k era. But his recently 
Sundance-screened Citizen King is not 
his swan song. Rather, as the pro- 
ducer-director quickly interjects, 
King is merely his "most recent" 
film— and the last to emerge from 
his Roja Productions before the fif- 
teen-year-old company goes on 
indefinite hiatus, and Bagwell takes 
his seat as the newly appointed 
program officer of Media, Arts and 
Culure at the Ford Foundation. 

The veteran filmmaker is no 
stranger to the grant application 
process, of course. It's been an inte- 
gral part of his documentary career, 
during which he has made a name 
for himself as one of the preeminent 
chroniclers of African-American his- 
tory. Bagwell's award-winning fil- 
mography includes Matters of Race, 
Africans in America: America's Journey 
through Slavery, and Roots of Resistance: 
A Story of the Underground Railroad, in 
addition to profiles of such seminal 
figures as Malcolm X, Frederick 
Douglass, Alvin Alley, and Martin 
Luther King, Jr. 

Citizen King (which premiered on 
PBS in January) revisits the last five 
years in the life of Martin Luther King, 
Jr., while offering a distinctly different 
glimpse of Dr. King from that which 
has become popularized by the words 
"I have a dream . . . ." Prompted in part 
by the recognition of Dr. King's birth- 
day as a national holiday in 1986, and 
also by his work on Eyes on the Prize as 
part of the production team at Henry 
Hampton's Blackside Productions, 
Bagwell began to think about the ways 

Filmmaker and newly appointed Ford 
Foundation officer Orlando Bagwell. 



King had been presented. "That 
national commemoration effort causes 
us in some way to see him somewhat 
narrowly," Bagwell explains. "People 
tended to see him at the moment of the 



films often portray the forgotten or lit- 
tle-seen sides of men caught in great- 
ness, portrays the final journey of King 
as an often-lonely one, and one that 
took a tremendous toll. As the film 
notes, Dr. King died when he was just 
thirty-nine years old, yet his autopsy 
revealed that he had the heart of a 
sixty-year-old man. 

The value of media as a place where 
unseen worlds and lives can be repre- 
sented is a recurring theme in Bagwell's 




March on Washington, and to remem- 
ber him as the spokesperson for the 
Montgomery bus boycott." 

During one segment of Bagwell's 
film, the camera lingers over photos of 
King with his wife and children. The 
images slowly colorize and for a few 
brief moments, you could almost be 
looking at any old family photos. But 
then the images return to black and 
white and once again, King becomes 
the man as seen through history's eyes. 
As King has himself said, "history has 
seized me." Toward the end of his life, 
he was shouldering an enormous 
responsibility, leading the civil rights 
movement as it struggled to define 
itself against the backlash of Vietnam 
and the raging poverty and violence in 
homeland ghettoes. Bagwell, whose 



career. The Baltimore native moved 
with his family to New Hampshire 
while he was still in high school. There, 
he says, he realized that many of his 
classmates had no insight into the 
world he had come from, in large part 
because it was without representation 
anywhere. Later, while at Boston 
University, Bagwell taught an after- 
school program at a community cen- 
ter, helping youths to create real docu- 
ments of their own experiences, 
whether it was b-ball on the play- 
ground, or just hanging out with 
friends. Even when he turned to histor- 
ical documentaries, Bagwell's belief in 
representing the under-portrayed 
comes through. 

"There was a really rich story of a Dr. 
King that we may have missed for a 



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while, and thac we needed to be 
reminded of," says Bagwell. Moreover, 
King's srory "offers a real strong lesson 
on the notion of leadership and the dif- 
ficulties of being that person people 
expect you to be as a leader." 

At this junction, the notion of expec- 
tations and responsibility weigh heavi- 
ly on Bagwell. When we spoke, he was 
just a week into his new gig at the 
Foundation, where he will oversee the 
funds given away annually to support 
various media projects. (The Ford 
Foundation in fact largely underwrote 
Citizen King.) The fifty-two-year-old- 
filmmaker is soft-spoken and pauses 
frequently— as if scanning the scope of 
his career when answering questions. 
So why leave a celebrated career after all 
this time? 

"I've been so involved in production 
day in and day out, one production 
after another, at rimes I thought the 
industry was moving faster than I was," 
he says. "I had been wanting to take 
some time to step back and take stock 
of it all, to look not only at where 
things have changed, but think about 
where they might go." 

Some of the biggest changes of 
course, are the internet and cable tele- 
vision—the brave new media world 
where many documentaries now find a 
home and an audience. "There are lots 
of possibilities for landing space now 
for documentary, but you also find the 
potential for all the research and ele- 
ments that go into making docs emerg- 
ing in new media form, and finding an 
audience and a way to reach them 
through online and broadband. The 
business and marketplace has changed 
dramatically," says Bagwell. "In order 
to exist as a viable company— a compa- 
ny that started in 1988 needs to change 
to thrive m a much more competitive, 
diverse industry. So part of stepping 
away is to think about those things and 
how a company like Roja and the mis- 
sion that we like to believe that we're 
about find a space in the new market 
and new media." 

The opportunity at the Ford 



Foundation offered him just that: 
"These kinds of considerations and 
thought are actively a part of the envi- 
ronment. And it's also a way to stay 
involved in the work of the media mak- 
ers and to have the chance to learn 
from them and to consider the work 
that I do as a filmmaker by watching 
people tactically confront the same 
problems that I was confronting." But 
while remaining intimately involved in 
media, will it be tough on Bagwell to 
not be behind the camera? 

"It's one of my big fears right now," 
he concedes. "I think I will miss it 
tremendously. I know that at the core 
I'm a filmmaker— I love the process 
from beginning to end. I'm very much 
aware of the long days on the road and 
the editing and the sacrifices it takes 
on your everyday life. But in all these 
years, it's the place where I found 
myself. It was an energized space that 
fed me a lot." 

He's quick to mention, however, that 
the caliber of ideas and discourse 
exchanged at Ford recall times around 
the production tables at Blackside 
Productions (legendary Henry 
Hampton-helmed outfit responsible 
for such groundbreaking work as Eyes 
on the Prize and I'll Make Me a World) as 
well as Roja. It's too early for Bagwell to 
have a vision for the work he will do at 
the Foundation. For now, he's adjust- 
ing to the new culture, looking back on 
his own career that has taken him from 
history back to the future. 

Bagwell knows that attention is 
focused on him now— in the same way 
he trained his camera on so many sub- 
jects—and that there is an expectation 
for him to help lead emerging voices 
and ideas in media. So what will cap- 
ture Orlando Bagwell's attention? 
Broadly, says Bagwell, "well thought 
out projects with the potential to be 
completed and a vision for how the 
work might somehow energize our- 
selves as citizens of this nation, and of 
the world. If media can do that, then it's 
media you have to pay attention to." D 
Erin Torneo is a writer in New York. 



16 The Independent | April 2004 



profile 



Carrie Mae Weems 

TRANSPORTING HER STILL LIFE TO VIDEO 
By Theresa Everline 



« 



P 



eople from the beginning 
have always asked me 
when I was going to make 
a movie," says Carrie Mae 
Weems, the noted African-American 
photographer and installation artist 
who has recently turned her attention 
to making video projects. So far in her 
career Weems has had solo exhibitions 
at the Museum of Modern Art, the J. 
Paul Getty Museum, the 
Walker Arts Center in 
Minneapolis, and other 
major art museums. 
Talking from her home 
in Syracuse, New York, 
she says that she doesn't 
feel as if she's making a 
particularly big change 
in medium by taking up 
a video camera. "I think 
of it as a way of extend- 
ing the vocabulary of 
my work," she explains. 
"It's a way of combining 
and activating the levels 
of media that I've been 
very interested in." 

Coming Up for Air, 
the working title of 
her forthcoming video 
series, is a collection of 
vignettes that Weems 
began a year-and-a-half 
ago with support from 
the Checkerboard Film Foundation, 
which usually sponsors projects 
about, rather than by, artists. When 
asked to describe her video work, 
Weems lets out a soft chuckle, as if she 
herself is trying to figure it out. "I 
guess it's sort of a hodgepodge in a 
way," she says. Then she begins break- 



Carrie Mae Weems in her photo from 
the Kitchen Table Project. 



ing down the subject matter that she 
has tackled in her hodgepodge. 

One vignette, she explains, is about 
love— "both the public and the private 
aspects of love"— specifically, the 
relationship between Winnie and 
Nelson Mandela. "To have your love 
played out on a world stage must be 
quite enormous— to have it scrutinized 
like that," she notes. Exploring this 




theme led Weems to consider the 
social responsibility of love, its 
different possible meanings and quali- 
ties. As Weems sees it, Winnie Mandela 
understood that she was essentially 
marrying a movement, and then wait- 
ed for Nelson— at least in form— for the 
twenty-five years he spent in prison, 
after which he had to denounce her. "I 
wonder what that private conversation 
was like," muses Weems. 



But the piece extends beyond these 
two public figures. "Because I'm sort of 
completely narcissistic," says Weems, 
with a sly note of self-deprecation in 
her voice, "it begins with my relation- 
ship with my father." Within these var- 
ious arenas, whether dealing with well- 
known political figures or the nuanced 
give-and-take between a parent and a 
child, arise questions about desire. Or, 
as Weems so aptly puts it, "Coming to 
understand desire as the source of all 
great anxietv." 

Born in 1953 in Portland, Oregon, 
Weems studied at the California 
Institute of the Arts (where, she points 
out, she first created video works), 
then received an MFA, 
and later went on to 
the graduate program 
in Folklore at the 
University of California, 
Berkeley. She has gar- 
nered acclaim for such 
quietly riveting work 
as The Kitchen Table 
Series (1990), twenty 
photographs and thir- 
teen text panels that 
reveal a woman's life 
as it occurs around her 
kitchen table, and The 
Jefferson Suite (1999), 
an installation that 
explores Thomas Jeffer- 
son's relationship with 
Sally Hemmings and 
the role of genetics in 
society. 

One of her most inter- 
esting installations, The 
Hampton Project (2000), 
was commissioned by the Williams 
College Museum of Art in 
Massachusetts. The basis of the work 
was a series of photographs that 
Frances Benjamin Johnston took in 
1900 of the Hampton Normal and 
Agricultural Institute (now Hampton 
University), a Virginia institution 
devoted to the education of African- 
Americans and, at one point, Native 
Americans. Johnston's photos have 



April 2004 | The Independent 17 



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their own storied history: they were 
celebrated at the 1900 Universal 
Exposition in Paris, then lost, then 
recovered and exhibited at MoMA in 
1966; Weems had several of these 
images scanned onto muslin or canvas 
in large-scale format, many of which 
she hung from the ceiling; then she 
added text and a voice soundtrack. 
"She's a master appropriator," Vivian 
Patterson, the exhibition's curator, 
savs of Weems. "She came up with this 
very dramatic installation." Patterson 
was particularly taken with the 
exhibition's audio soundtrack, con- 
sisting of narration intoned by Weems 
herself. "She lures you in with the 
beaut} 7 of her pieces and her voice." 
explains Patterson, "and then the text 
and the theme blindside you. It's a 
punch. So it becomes that much more 
interesting and alluring, but on sever- 
al different layers." 

The banners throughout the gallery 
were a wav for Weems to physically 
engage the viewer. In Patterson's 
estimation, it added up to "a forest of 
information m a sort of benevolent 
way, until vou really started to look. 
When vou started to look closely there 
was all this history that made you 
think of complicitv and responsibili- 
ty." The exhibition was supposed to 
move on to Hampton University, but 
the institution refused to host it on 
the grounds that the exhibition didn't 
acknowledge the advances Hampton 
had made, and the university further 
objected to the fact that Weems didn't 
identify the people in Johnston's 
photographs. 

Weems' current video work shares 
the same sort of sly power as her instal- 
lations, according to Laurence Kardish. 
senior curator in MoMA's Department 
of Film and Video. "Their simplicity is 
only apparent," Kardish says of the 
vignettes that make up Coming Up for 
Air. "Much of her work refers to a past 
that is still somewhat present." 

All of this could give the impression 
that Weems' work might sag with 
heavy seriousness— an impression 



18 The Independent | April 2004 



that's further enhanced when Weems 
offers two examples of filmmakers she 
admires: Chris Marker, who made the 
haunting post-nuclear drama La Jetee 
(1962), and Maya Deren, whose Meshes 



with scrims that ask the viewer to move 
through them— scrims that are the size 
of a [movie] screen almost, and with 
sound pulling you through, creating 
these spaces so that hopefully you're 
pulled in, so you 
literally travel 
through a pic- 
torial history 
along with the 
narrator— that 
voice that sends 



form of witnessing," she admits. 
"Maybe I'm asking the audience to 
operate as my witness in this case, but 
I'm not necessarily asking them to 
operate as participant/observer, as in 
The Hampton Project, where you 
become a part of the work. In video, 
there's a great deal of distance— that 
black-box experience is something 
entirely different." 

In the end, though, she says, she con- 
tinues to be mesmerized by the image, 




of the Afternoon (1947) is one of the 
prime film-studies examples of non- 
narrative visual poetry. But there's 
another, lighter side to Weems that 
comes out in her new work. For 
example, one of Coming Up for Air's 
vignettes featuring a woman dancing 
plays off both the James Brown song 
"If I Ruled the World" and the celebrat- 
ed scene from The Great Dictator of 
Chaplin-as-Hitler dancing with an 
inflatable globe. "I'm in love with 
humor," Weems states simply. Also 
earning her affection is Fellini, whom, 
she says, "I love, love, love." 

Coming Up for Air has given Weems a 
chance to enlist the help of fellow 
artists— composers, choreographers, 
actors, and the like, including DJ 
Spooky, who plays the young Nelson 
Mandela, and the Jackie Robinson 
Marching Band from Brooklyn. As an 
artist, Weems finds the appeal of large- 
scale installations like The Hampton 
Project or The Jefferson Suite to be in the 
all-encompassing effect they have on 
the viewer. "The entire room is filled 



Left to right: Weems' installations 
Jefferson Suite and Hampton Project. 



you through 
beginning, mid- 
dle, and end." 

It makes sense 
that an artist so 
engaged with 
narrative would 

experiment with the possibilities of 
video. Weems even finds in the video 
editing process something similar to the 
choices she makes when putting togeth- 
er an installation. "I think it's really not 
so terribly different," she states. "It's the 
same process, just dealing with 
considerably more material." 

Her video work clearly does not 
break sharply from the concerns she 
explores as a still photographer. As 
MoMA curator Kardish observes, the 
ease of videomaking allows Weems "a 
more fluid approach to her themes, 
but does not necessarily expand her 
range of subjects." Kardish notes that 
videomaking is "a more relaxed and 
informal art" than still photography, 
with its more rigorous set-up and tech- 
nological demands. Weems, however, is 
less certain about the role of the viewer 
in the end product. 

"I don't know how video fits in as a 



pure and simple, regardless of the 
medium. "This clip— does it render 
that same singular moment as a 
photograph? How closely can I get it to 
do that?" 

In Fellini's films, says Weems, there's 
"a beautiful crystallization— there's a lot 
of noise, but ultimately there are these 
vast and deep moments of crystalliza- 
tion. Those images live in my head end- 
lessly. I think that's a very interesting 
idea." And then she laughs a deep, reso- 
nant laugh and adds, "Which makes me 
think that maybe I should just be mak- 
ing still photographs." D 

Weems will present vignettes from her video 
work-in-progress series at 8:15 p.m. Monday, 
April 5 at the Museum of Modern Art. 



Theresa Everlme is a New York based 

freelance writer whose work has appeared in 

GQ, The Oxford American, Filmmaker, 

The Yale Review, and other publications. 



April 2004 | The Independent 19 



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doc doctor 



Ask the 
Documentary Doctor 



By Fernanda Rossi 




Dear Doc Doctor: 

My film is a documentary best suited 
for public television, but the outlets I 
have tried turned it down. Does that 
mean the life of my film is over? 
Rejection can be a wonderful thing 
after you have recovered from that ini- 
tial sucker punch of a form letter that 
says "No" in three painstakingly long 
paragraphs. Some deal with it by tak- 
ing a deep breath; others scream. 
Others burn their rejection letters. 
Regardless of your coping method, it's 
important that you assign yourself a 
deadline to stop focusing on the rejec- 
tion, because then you will begin to see 
other possibilities emerge. 

Such was the case with Juan Carlos 
Zaldivar, an award-winning filmmaker 
whose feature-length documentary 90 
Miles depicts the sea journey from 
Havana to Miami made by Cubans 
who opted for exile, and the ways in 
which the rift between the US and 
Cuba has shaped relationships within 
Zaldivar's own family. "Had I known 
the journey I would embark on after 
POV turned me down, I would have 
called it '20,000 Leagues under the Sea,'" 
Zaldivar says. 

Although 90 Miles was perfect for 
public television because of its style 
and subject matter, Zaldivar was more 
interested in the outreach opportuni- 
ty ties POV could provide. POV agreed 
" with him, but still said no. Because 
< their rejection had nothing to do with 
£ whether or not they liked the film, but 



rather with other programming cir- 
cumstances, Zaldivar was invited to 
reapply the following year. He did reap- 
ply, and in the meantime he took mat- 
ters into his own hands. 

First he bought a book about using 
HTML, which helped him to build a 
simple website that featured informa- 
tion about the film and instructions 
for interested parties on how to organ- 
ize screenings in their communities. 
Some invitations from film festivals 
followed, which then led to screenings 
at universities and other venues. When 
the year was up, again POV said no, 
though again extending Zaldivar an 
invitation to reapply. 

During this two-year period, 
Zaldivar screened his film in fifty dif- 
ferent venues and festivals to more 
than 10,000 viewers. Most importantly, 
he demonstrated his commitment to 
both the film and Cuban community. 
On his third submission, POV said yes. 

90 Miles finally broadcast, but 
Zaldivar's work didn't change. With 
the help of POV, he continued what he 
had already started on his own— an 
outreach campaign to generate debate 
about immigration and exile. The only 
difference was this time he would be 
reaching a few million viewers. 

So, read that rejection letter again. It 
might actually be an invitation. 

Dear Doc Doctor: 

If public television stations have such 
low or sometimes non-existent acqui- 
sition fees, and grants are so compet- 
itive, are there other ways to get my 
PBS-type documentary financed? 
Do the words "Brought to you by . . ." 
ring a bell? The credits of a documen- 
tary harbor numerous secrets. With a 
skilled approach at reading them, you 
can figure out the entire fundraising 



plan of a film. It is true that grants are 
limited and highly competitive. 
Individual donors can keep projects 
going for a while, but they also serve 
only as a limited resource. Pre-sales 
and/or acquisition fees are not always 
an option— especially in public televi- 
sion. But there is still one more door to 
knock on, and it's one that is generally 
ignored by independent filmmakers: 
corporate financing. 

Receiving money from a corporation 
in exchange for listing that corpora- 
tion's name in the credits used to be 
known as "corporate sponsorship." 
But Daniel Sherrett, a corporate 
fundraising agent with Event TV 
Branded Entertainment, say it's now 
about partnerships. "Decision makers 
at corporations are generally turned off 
by 'Sponsorship Opportunities,' as 
their experience has been a lot of 
money out for very little return. 
Instead 'corporate partnership' or 
'branded entertainment' has become a 
more viable way for companies to help 
producers finance new film and televi- 
sion projects." 

The types of deals and packages 
through corporate financing are 
both specific and varied— from edu- 
cational strategies within the compa- 
ny to customer relations and website 
outreach, to product placement. You 
should consult the PBS website 
which publishes standards for corpo- 
rate funding (www.pbs/producers/ 
guidelines). 

Still, there are, of course, the obvi- 
ous ethical concerns to consider. You 
don't want your documentary to 
appear biased by who your partners 
are. That is, if your film is about the 
problems around drilling for oil in 
Alaska, and it is sponsored by an oil 
company . . . well, you might lose cred- 
ibility as a filmmaker. 

The trick is approaching the right 
corporation in the right way— not to 
beg, but to negotiate. D 

Fernanda Rossi is a filmmaker and 

script/ documentary doctor. Write to her at 

info@documentarydoctor.com. 



April 2004 | The Independent 21 




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National Center 
for Outreach 

Jason Guerrasio interviews Maria Alvarez Stroud 



Public television stations 
have always been dedicat- 
ed to airing programs 
that help their communi- 
ties. But after the programs have 
aired, how can inspired community 
members actually take up the cause? 
For three years, the National Center 
for Outreach has tried to help 
expand public TV's mission by 
orchestrating community activities 
with local and national stations. But 
the NCO isn't only a service for sta- 




tions. As many filmmakers have 
learned, it doesn't hurt to have an 
outreach plan when pitching to pub- 
lic television. 

What are some of the ways you 
encourage stations to engage in 
their local communities? 

Let's say a station shows a film on 
Alzheimer's Disease. That's a great 
public service, but if you combine that 
with a local phone bank where experts 
on Alzheimer's answer the phones, 
that extends the impact of the broad- 
cast because it helps people get in 
touch immediately with the resources 
t that they need. 

a. 

g Organizers discuss agendas at the 
| National Center for Outreach's 2003 
< annual conference. 



What was the precedent for NCO? 

Years ago it was called The Public 
Television Outreach Alliance. It was 
five television stations that got 
together to encourage people to do 
something around the broadcasts 
they aired. They were the pioneers of 
what we do today. 

Do you try to get the filmmakers 
involved? 

We really seek out organizations in 
three broad ways. Obviously, there's 
the public television stations: PBS, 
and Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting. Beyond that we work 
with producers who are thinking 
about what kind of impact they want 
to have with their broadcast. And we 
work with national organizations to 
find out how they can partner with 
the public television stations. We're 
pretty much the catalyst of those 
three groups coming together. With 
producers, they work on getting 
their show on the air and then 
there's this afterthought of what 
should happen around the show so 
it's not a one-night stand. We work 
really hard so that's not the case. 
And now funders are saying, "It's a 
great idea you want to do a show on 
say, suicide, but we want to know 
how that's going to have an impact 
on the community." 

So, if a producer has a plan for out- 
reach to go along with his/her film, 
it's more intriguing for stations? 

It's a huge selling point. 

Is most of the effort to increase 
awareness made by the public televi- 
sion stations or the filmmakers? 

It's a little bit of both. And with 
national community organizations 



like United Way, Boys and Girls 
Clubs, the American Library 
Association, and museums, there's 
great symmetry in what those com- 
munity organizations are trying to 
do and what we want public televi- 
sion to be on a local level. We have 
the most contact with the public tel- 
evision stations, but we have an 
annual conference every year and 
that's where the producers that are 
doing outreach for their broadcasts 
come and present their videos and 
their plans to all the outreach man- 
agers in public television. It's sort of 
the kickoff to the next year. Outreach 
people tend to work about six 
months ahead [of the broadcast]. The 
show can still be in production and 
outreach folks are already working in 
the community to build the partner- 
ship. It's very much on the front end 
of production that a lot of the work 
happens, and it often culminates the 
night of the broadcast and then con- 
tinues on. 



NATIONAL CENTER 
FOR OUTREACH 

975 Observatory Drive 

Madison, Wl 53706 

866-234-2017 

fax: 608-265-5039 

nationaloutreach@wpt.org 

www.nationaloutreach.org 



Staff: 

Maria Alvarez Stroud, 
Executive Director 

Tom Linfield, 

Training & Grants Director 

Bobbette Rose, 
Graphic Communications 
Manager & Web Developer 

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Outreach Community Manager 

Cristina Hanson, 
Outreach Content Manager 

Barrett Dowell, 
Unit Manager 




April 2004 | The Independent 23 



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What are some of the reasons public 
television stations should be 
involved with NCO? 
We're a free resource [laughs]. We pro- 
vide consultation and we even travel 
to stations that are having a hard time 
trying to figure out how to build 
stronger ties to their community. The 
typical question from stations is, 
"Well, how much is this going to cost 
us?" And we're like, "Nothing." 

We also provide training on how to 
connect and be a better partner on the 
local level. We try to keep people 
informed about what's going on 
nationally; being a clearinghouse is a 
major function of what we do. And 
then, in addition to that, we also pro- 
vide funding to public television sta- 
tions with a granting program. 

Can you explain these grants? 

We've really honed in on the connec- 
tor grant which is focused on a partic- 
ular issue in a community and then 
building a campaign using broadcast 
as one of the components. It could be 
phone banks, or print material, or 
classroom presentations, or a leader- 
ship organization. Beyond that we do 
some special grants. This next year 
we're going to be rolling out a grant 
encouraging stations to do local lead- 
ership summits where local leaders in 
the communities go into their sta- 
tions and listen and work together on 
how the stations can be better for 
their communities. 

Are there different dollar amounts for 
the grants? 

The leadership summit grants are going 
to be small, probably a couple thou- 
sand. The connector grant is $14,000. 

What are the deadlines? 

January and July. 

What's the process a station has to 
go through in order to get involved 
with NCO? 

It's on varying degrees, but we basi- 
cally provide services to every public 



television station. We send out 
newsletters; everyone's invited to 
come to our conference. Stations can 
request for us to come and do things 
with them, so it's not like it's a mem- 
ber organization. 

What is the NCO Outreach Pipeline? 

The Pipeline is a tool for all the broad- 
casts that want to see some kind of 
outreach activity happening around 
them. It provides information about 
the suggested activities, about the 
resources that are available, and if 
there are any grants that will be 
awarded. It's something that we 
update four times a year. At our con- 
ference we have a Pipeline session, and 




everyone at the conference gets a 
videotape of all the Pipeline shows so 
that they can go back to their stations 
and show everyone. We also do a 
monthly newsletter that mentions the 
Pipeline. 

What is the greatest benefit that 
National Center for Outreach has 
provided? 

We're getting stations to think in a 
different way about what it means to 
be a public television station, and 
making the word "public" stand out 
in public broadcasting. D 

Jason Guerrasio is a staff writer for 
The Independent. 



Maria Alvarez-Stroud, the Executive 
Director of the National Center for 
Outreach, giving the opening talk at the 
2003 NCO Annual Conference. 



24 The Independent | April 2004 



site seeing 



The Meatrix 

WHERE MEAT MEETS ITS MAKER 
By Michael I Schiller 



There's a website out there 
that's bound to make you 
set down that chicken wing, 
and think twice before bit- 
ing in to another slab of beef. The 
Meatrix (www.themeatrix.com) is a 
website that uses a colorful animated 



what it is— a dreary factory farm where 
animals are abused and exploited in 
horrible and disease ridden condi- 
tions until their inevitable death for 
human consumption. 

The Macromedia Flash cartoon is 
the work of Free Range Graphics, and 



three million hits. The success of this 
short web-toon can be attributed to a 
number of factors. The Meatrix falls 
into a category that rapper KRS 1 
coined as "edu-tainment"— media that 
is equally informative and entertain- 
ing. The Meatrix provides its form of 
"edu-tainment" by avoiding the pit- 
falls of some activist media campaigns 
that scare people away by being dread- 
fully boring or shockingly graphic. 

I remember (in the pre-web days) 
watching a grainy 16mm film that 
was shot inside a factory farm and 
released by an animal rights group. 
The images of chickens having their 
beaks cuts off so they wouldn't peck 
each other to death, and pigs penned 
in spaces so tight that they could not 
even turn around, were enough to 
make me quit eating meat for several 
years. The absolute horror of witness- 
ing those conditions is not some- 
thing I would rush to share with my 
friends and neighbors. The Meatrix, 
though, represents the exact same 
images but in a way that is softened 




parody of The Matrix to address its 
social agenda, playfully mimicking 
the art direction of the sci-fi martial 
arts trilogy. 

After logging on, the trademark 
glowing green, horizontal text scrolls 
down the screen as the flash movie 
loads. The animated film begins with 
a pig named Leo (think Keanu Reeves' 
"Neo") lapping up slop on an idyllic 
country farm. Leo is approached by a 
cow in a trench coat named 
"Moopheus" (a cartoon stand-in for 
Lawrence Fishburne's "Morpheus") 
who offers Leo the choice of two 
pills— one red, one blue. By passing up 
the blue pill of continued denial and 
swallowing the bitter red pill of truth, 
Leo sees the world around him for 

Leo and Moopheus in The Meatrix. 



is the brainchild 
of the media col 
lectives' director 
of operations, 
Jonah Sachs, who 
says he was 
inspired by the 
first Matrix film, 
particularly the 

scene where Neo wakes up in the cata- 
combs of the human factory. Sachs saw 
the parallel between the lie Neo told 
himself about his happy world and 
"the lie we tell ourselves about where 
our meat comes from," says Sachs. 

The words "viral" and meat are 
almost never a good combination, but 
for this group of animators it has 
translated into a total success— their 
"viral" campaign has generated The 
Meatrix web site an unprecedented 



and made, well, digestible, even 
humorous in a disturbing way. The 
cartoon aesthetic is strangely appeal- 
ing, enough to inspire hundreds of 
thousands of people to email a few 
thousand of their closest friends. 

Free Range's Director of Strategy, 
Tate Hausman, provides insight as to 
why the cartoon has resonated so well 
with the public: "It piggy-backed, no 
pun intended, off the popularity of 
The Matrix in a hilarious way. It spoke 



April 2004 | The Independent 25 




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that language of established pop cul- 
ture, but with a really funny twist. 
Without the humor and spoof of The 
Matrix, it would have been another 
anti-factory farming diatribe. And 




without the hard-hitting, meaningful 
information, it would have been just 
another silly Matrix spoof." 

The site stays true to the creator's 
intentions of education and raising 
awareness without being rabidly anti- 
carnivore. In fact, it provides a link 
(pun intended) to the Eat Well Guide 
(eatwellguide.org), which helps shop- 
pers find organic and responsible 
meat products. It was that same link 
that caused a rumor to circulate on a 
vegan message board that claimed 
The Meatrix was actually created by a 
front group of the meat industry. 

Au contraire. The Meatrix is a prod- 
uct of Free Range Graphics' first ever 
Free Range Flash Activism Grant. In 
February 2003 Free Range put out an 
offer to the progressive nonprofit 
community, and offered to produce 
one of their signature Flash activism 
films for the most compelling social 
justice campaign. More than fifty 
groups applied. GRACE, the Global 
Resource Action Center for the 
Environment, won the grant for its 
factory farming campaign. 



The Meatrix took one animator, 
Free Range co-founder Louis Fox, 
about a month to produce. That 
included all character and set cre- 
ation, animation, and soundtrack. In 
all, they estimate that The Meatrix 
would have cost about $17,000 to pro- 
duce. That does not include distribu- 
tion costs, which were also provided 
for free, and could have easily 
amounted to another three to four 
thousand dollars. 

Obviously, these costs are a minis- 
cule fraction of what it cost to pro- 
duce a film like The Matrix, let alone 
what it would take to do legal battle 
with an entity of that size. Fortunately 
for the site's creators, they have never 
been ordered to cease and desist with 
their spoof. The only person to con- 
tact The Meatrix from The Matrix 
camp was one of the assistant direc- 
tors who worked on The Matrix 2 & 3, 
Kevin McNamara. His email to Free 
Range had the following subject line: 
Brilliant. 

Clearly, this animated short has 
reached far and wide. However, the 
question remains, can web edu-tain- 
ment have any palpable effect on soci- 
ety, or is a cartoon like The Meatrix 
just another amusing quick fix to be 
forwarded and deleted? According to 
Free Range's Hausman, the site is 
effective. "The Meatrix introduced the 
idea of the downsides of factory farm- 
ing to many thousands, maybe mil- 
lions of people who had never thought 
about the issue before. That kind of 
consciousness shift is hard to measure 
in isolation, but is the ultimate goal of 
strategic communications work," says 
Hausman. 

"It gave hundreds of thousands 
more people who already knew about 
factory farming an appealing, under- 
standable way to think about the issue 
and discuss it with their friends and 
family, and it raised GRACE'S profile 
tremendously within the responsible 
food community. Those are the kind 
of results you can spend millions of 
advertising dollars to create. GRACE 



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spent nothing." 

While the animated short certainly 
deserves credit for propelling 
GRACE'S cause to fame and racking 
up media attention from USA Today, 
CNN's Headline News, and NPR, 
among other outlets, it is important 
to remember that the cartoon is only 
one part of a fairly extensive website. 
Once you've been hooked by the ani- 
mation, there are links to relevant 
actions in the US and abroad, facts 
about family farms, and links to 
organizations and information about 
the hazards of factor)' farming. The 
flash animation is the teaspoon of 
sugar to help the medicine go down. 
In the words of the late great Lenny 
Bruce. "Once you get people laughing, 
you can tell them anything." 

Flash animation is a perfect medi- 
um for web streaming, with none of 
the clumsy stuttering and painfully 
long loading time of movies shot on 
film and video compressed for web 
viewing. Tate Hausman and the folks 
at Free Range work exclusively in the 
animated medium, and they have con- 
fidence in their message. 

"The power of online Flash movies 
is only starting to take off, but its his- 
tory so far shows that it's not terribly 
effective for advertisers trying to sell a 
product, but is powerful for social jus- 
tice campaigners trying to inspire 
action. People respond to non-com- 
mercial, meaningful opportunities to 
do the right thing, to help save the 
environment, stop corporations from 
seizing too much power, reform our 
government, whatever. But they don't 
want to be sold more crap," says 
Hausman. "That's why movies like 
The Meatrix will alwavs outperform 
even the slickest most expensive com- 
mercial Flash ads." D 

Michael I Schiller is the Senior Editor of Heeb 
magazine, and a co-founder of the independ- 
ent film production company, Freed Pictures. 
His writing has appeared in Dwell, The 
Villager, and The New York Times online. 
His work as a film director producer has aired 
on MTV, PBS, and at festivals worldwide. 



28 The Independent | April 2004 



festival circuit 



Black Maria 

ON THE ROAD WITH THE SIXTY CITY FEST 
By Derek Loosvelt 



When you make a film 
you hope it's going 
to be seen by a 
diverse group of peo- 
ple, and not just by the converted," 
says Black Maria Film and Video 
Festival director John Columbus. "We 
reach all kinds of people, even rural, 
'off-the-beaten-path' audiences." 

Now in its twenty-third year, the 
Black Maria (pronounced Ma-RYE- 
ah) shuns the single-venue, one-to- 
eight-day screening format, opting 
instead to showcase its collection of 
animated and live-action shorts in a 
sixty-city tour from January to June. 
"Rather than letting the audiences 
come to us," says Columbus, "we go 
to them." 

Perhaps as unorthodox as the festi- 
val's approach to distributing work is 
its approach to accepting it. The Black 
Maria doesn't have any cate- 
gories or genres. "No pigeon- 
holes," says Columbus. "Each 
film is judged on its own merit." 
Columbus admits, though, the 
Black Maria tends to have more 
poetic, less dialogue-driven 
work. "We're strongly interested 
in visually-oriented, experimen- 
tal pieces, and human revela- 
tion documentaries— when 
what happens unfolds, rather 
than being scripted or driven by pre- 
ordained ideas." 

The Black Maria's own unscripted 
story starts in New Jersey, where 
Columbus grew up in the shadows of 
the New York skyline and, as a kid, vis- 
ited the historical site of the world's 
first motion picture studio, the Black 
Maria, built by Thomas Edison in 
1893. Edison named his West Orange, 

Fast Film won a Jury's Choice Award in 
the 2004 Black Maria Festival. 



New Jersey studio after the old police 
vans that carried criminals off to 
prison. Columbus says his first visit to 
the studio launched his quest to 
become a filmmaker. 

After receiving his master's degree 
in film editing from Columbia 
University in 1975, Columbus went 



showed at three venues, all in New- 
Jersey— the Edison site, Montclair Art 
Museum, and Newark Museum, 
where Columbus worked at the time 
as an exhibit designer. The following 
year, a colleague of Columbus' at 
Cornell University wanted to bring 
the festival to Ithaca. The word also 
spread to Syracuse and Colgate. 
Columbus says, "After expanding the 
festival to all three schools, I thought, 
'This works.'" 

Up from 100 submissions in its 
first year, the Black Maria now annu- 
ally selects winners from some 700 




off to teach at South Jersey's Richard 
Stockton College, where he started a 
tiny film festival. The fest fizzled 
when Columbus left the school five 
years later, but after moving to West 
Orange and revisiting Edison's stu- 
dio, Columbus says, "A light bulb lit- 
erally went off in my head. I missed 
the festival I was running and 
thought, 'Why don't I propose one to 
the historical site?'" 

In its first year, the Black Maria 



entries, screening between fifty to 
sixty shorts at various schools, muse- 
ums, libraries, and theaters from 
Alaska to Alabama. Big-city stops 
include the Smithsonian in DC, the 
Millennium in New York, and 
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. 
Smaller destinations include Boulder, 
Savannah, and Cincinnati. Past festi- 
vals have also eone to Mexico and 
Korea, and this year, for the second 
time, the Black Maria takes its show 
on the road to Rome. 

"The traveling element definitely 
^ives filmmakers access," savs 
Thomas Torres Cordova, who's one of 
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ees. He's also a past participant in the 
festival. Torres Cordova's White Dwarf 
traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, with 
the Black Maria in 2001. "There was a 
great response down there," he says, 
"and it helped a lot. I built connec- 
tions with people I wouldn't have 
otherwise met, and people saw my 
film who normally wouldn't have 
been able to." In addition to giving 
films a wide audience, the Black 
Maria provides an outlet for those 
underserved filmmakers interested in 
cinema as an art form and using the 
language of cinema in unconvention- 
al ways "There aren't many avenues 
for filmmakers who do this type of 
work," says Torres Cordova, who 
adds, "But we don't glorify filmmak- 
ers. We're about celebrating work 
that's extremely strong and using 
that work as a dialogue." 

On January 30, the Black Maria 
kicked off this year's tour at New 
Jersey City University, its home, with 
an afternoon screening followed by a 
public roundtable discussion that 
ended up focusing on the similarities 
and differences the filmmakers used 
in approaching their subject matter, 
as well as the relationship between 
camera and subject. On hand were a 
few of the films' directors, including 
Julie Haslett and Chelsea Guest 
Perez, both first-time Black Maria 
artists. New York City-based Haslett 
was there to support her eight- 
minute film Flooded, which follows a 
middle-aged couple's response to a 
flash flood in their quiet London 
suburb. Chicago-based Guest Perez 
attended to speak about her Black 
Maria entrv Walking In His Sleep, a 
twenty-three-minute video recollec- 
tion interspersing memories of her 
grandfather and newspaper accounts 
of his mysterious death. 

Haslett. whose previous work has 
appeared in the Full Frame 
Documentary Film Festival. Rooftop 
Films' short film series, and IFC Buzz 
Cuts, lauds the Black Maria for "pro- 
viding opportunities to meet fellow 



filmmakers and to discuss my work in 
a substantive way." She adds that the 
festival "takes its role as an advocate 
of independent film and video very 
seriously, which is reflected in how 
they treat and appreciate their film- 



Going to Extremes 

Black Maria festival director 
John Columbus on various 
audiences around the US 

Anchorage, Alaska: "People are 
pretty political in Anchorage, and 
they're hungry for something other 
than the standard fare. They tend to 
like a broad cross-section of what's 
happening in the media film world." 
Chicago. Illinois: "The city has some 
of the most rigorously demanding 
avant-garde audiences, who are 
extremely knowledgeable about 
experimental film. It would be a bit 
awkward to show them some of our 
more traditional, human interest, 
narrative films." 

Montgomery, Alabama: "With 
such a big Air Force base, you might 
think you'd find this very conserva- 
tive community, but they're actually 
looking for something unpre- 
dictable. Last year we had a really 
intellectual discussion about some 
of the films we showed, and from 
the audience feedback, I learned 
things about our films that I didn't 
even know before." 
Savannah, Georgia: "It's fascinat- 
ing, and it's not your typical south- 
ern city-the second Jewish syna- 
gogue in the US was built there, 
which is something you wouldn't 
quite expect in the Baptist South. 
And there are kids going to college 
there from all over the US who are 
very interested in experimental 
work, but maybe not in the most 
hardcore work-they tend to like 
more playful, experimental work, 
and grunge work. They want to get 
a sense of what's happening versus 
what they're doing." 



30 The Independent | April 2004 



makers." Guest Perez, whose previous asm, energy, and time he devotes to never seen before); and Hollywood- 
film showed at the Toronto Short the festival," says Morrison. "The tour based Chris Hinton's animated 
Film Festival and Chicago's Director's is mind-boggling, both in its number short Nibbles (an insane trip across 
Film Festival, agrees. "Everyone and geographic range of engage- America with a family of fast food 
involved with the Black Maria gave me ments." Morrison also points out feasters), which was one of two 

that Columbus Black Maria films nominated for an 

knows how to Oscar this year. The other piece to 

take care of his grab a nomination was Asylum (a 

artists: Each Ghanaian woman's struggle against 




encouraging and intelligent feedback, 
and then helped me to network and 
started to promote me— just because 
they loved my work. They wanted to 
do anything they could to help my 
new career along." A former painter, 
Guest Perez only recently shifted her 
focus to film. 

Among the shorts screened on the 
night of January 30, after the forum, 
was Bill Morrison's Light is Calling, a 
hypnotic eight-minute piece con- 
structed from damaged footage of The 
Bells, a film made in 1926 by James 
Young. Light is Calling, which played at 
Sundance this year, among other fests, 
is Morrison's seventh Black Maria 
film. In 1993, the Black Maria became 
the first festival to program 
Morrison's work, and since then he 
has exhibited films in more than nine- 
ty others. "The Black Maria is like my 
film festival family," says Morrison. 
"They've nurtured me over the years. 
And I hope, in a small way, I've done 
the same in return." Morrison helped 
jury the festival in 1998. 

Like others who've worked with 
Columbus, Morrison praises the festi- 
val director's dedication. "I've always 
been amazed at the tireless enthusi- 



Director's Choice Award 2004 Spirit of 
Gravity, an animated mini-musical. 



winning film- 
maker who is 
programmed 
receives a check 
between $100 

and $250. "That's almost unheard of," 
says Morrison. 

A filmmaker himself, Columbus 
knows how expensive and time-con- 
suming independent production can 
be. Recently, he finished a film about 
growing up in New Jersey called 
Corona, which has screened in several 
festivals from England to Seattle. 
"It's done nothing but cost me 
money," says Columbus. "I haven't 
made a penny on it. I haven't even 
received my VHS copies back." Of 
course, Columbus realizes this is 
part of the process, but he also 
knows that filmmakers appreciate 
getting something in return, thus 
the payout to each artist. "I know it's 
not much," he admits, "but at least 
it's a couple of nice dinners out in 
New York." 

Other films screened on opening 
night included New Jersey-based 
filmmaker Jim McNutt's Softee (a 
three-minute ride inside the mind of 
an ice cream man); Berlin-based 
Jeroen Offerman's The Stairway St. 
Paul's (Zeppelin karaoke like you've 



female circumcision), by Boulder- 
based filmmakers Sandy McLeod 
and Gini Reticker. 

As an Academy-Award nominating 
festival, the Black Maria can recom- 
mend three films for Oscar considera- 
tion each year— one in short subject 
documentary, one in live-action short 
film, and one in animated short film. 
Over the years, several Black Maria 
films have landed Oscar nominations 
and a couple have even taken home 
statues, including Joan C. Gratz' Mona 
Lisa Descending a Staircase (1993) and 
Jessica Lu's Breathing Lessons (1996). 

Another film that lit up the screen 
opening night was Selma to 
Montgomery, by the late documentary 
filmmaker and scholar Stefan Sharff, 
whom Columbus studied under at 
Columbia. As part of a Black Maria 
annual tradition of paying homage to 
notable contributors to independent 
film who have recently passed away, 
the Black Maria revived Sharff's docu- 
mentary on the famous 1965 voting 
rights march prompted by Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr. In addition to Sharff's 



April 2004 | The Independent 31 



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piece, the festival is currently display- 
ing works by legendary filmmakers 
Stan Brakhage and Jules Engel, who 
both passed away in 2003. 

On the road, each Black Maria pro- 
gram changes according to venue, so 




the festival becomes a sort of ongoing 
curatorial process. "But we don't just 
present the films," says Columbus, 
"we talk about them." To spur discus- 
sions and Q&As, which is tantamount 
to the festival's mission, Columbus 
and his team curate shows with theme 
or style in mind. Often, this is dictat- 
ed by the venue hosting the festival. 
"If they tell us they're particularly 
interested in animation." explains 
Columbus, "then we can focus on 
that. Or if they're interested in 
women's issues or social justice or fine 
art, we can do that, too." Grunge 
work, humorous satire, and even over- 
lapping thematic ideas— such as 
grunge pieces in a more poetic style- 
are other alternatives. 

"Finding these synergies is what's 
interesting about running the festi- 
val," says Columbus. "We're like a 
seamstress or tailor, threading all 
these films together." D 

For a screening schedule and other info, 
www.blackmariafilmfestival.org. 

Derek Loosvelt is a Brooklyn based o 

freelance writer. j| 

- z 

m 

Zamboni Man won a Director's Choice E 
Award 2004. fc 



32 The Independent | April 2004 



books 



Doing the Math 

A FILMMAKERS' GUIDE TO BUSINESS PLANS 
By Amanda Doss 



Filmmakers & Financing: Business Plans 
for Independents, Fourth Editon, 
by Louise Levison 
Focal Press (2004) 

To business plan or not to business 
plan, that is the question. Or so it 
seems to be among many independent 
filmmakers. I can't begin to count 
how many times I have heard a film- 
maker say, "Business plans aren't nec- 
essary." Several seasoned producers 
have told me that they have never even 
written a business plan. And what's 
more, I have been hired to prepare 
budgets for many filmmakers who 
have no intention of ever writing a 
business plan. 

Of course, no one wants to write a 
business plan. We are filmmakers. We 
are Artists. We create. A business plan, 
for us visionaries, represents boring, 
busy-work and hours of solitude in 
front of a computer writing dry, stuffy 
material that hints of the annoying 
term papers we got C's on in high 
school. I confess that the last plan I 
wrote was not what I would classify as 
fun. It took me six months to write it: 
four months thinking about writing 
it, one month of research, and one 
month to actually write it. So, natural- 
ly, if someone tells us we don't need 
one, chances are we're not writing one. 

To that end, why, pray tell, has 
Louise Levison dedicated her life to 
teaching and writing business plans 
for filmmakers? And why has her 
book Filmmakers & Financing: Business 
Plans for Independents just been released 
in its fourth edition? 

Obviously, Louise Levison believes 
in business plans. Not only does she 
make a living at teaching and lectur- 
ing on the subject, she also writes 
business plans for filmmakers, films 



(notably, for the The Blair Witch 
Project), and film-related companies. 
Business plans are Levison's liveli- 
hood, and so her arguments in favor 
of writing them are not without merit. 
In her book, Levison lays out each 
step and section of the business plan 



o raise fundi fix independent h'r 
i Hollywood Unfil Levison"* book ■* 
ejtPjmpfin, Producer/: i 



L O I I S E 



riLM 




in friendly, simple terms. (When it 
comes to reading books on the busi- 
ness side of filmmaking, we filmmak- 
ers like small words). Her introduc- 
tion tells the reader exactly what they 
will get out of the book: a guide to 
writing a business plan, no more and 
no less. She doesn't promise you will 
get the money you need or that you 
will be guaranteed distribution. She 
also makes it clear that you can have a 
great plan, but if you aren't actually 
ready to commit yourself to making 
the product, it won't happen. 

Each chapter is named for a section 
that might appear in a professional 
business plan: Executive Summary, 



Company, Product, Marketing, etc. 
Levison goes over what filmmakers 
should know about each section, and 
suggests additional exercises and 
resources to learn more. She backs up 
most of her ideas with anecdotes of 
successes and failures, and sometimes 
brief histories of the film industry. At 
the end of the book she includes a 
sample plan for a fictitious company 
for ongoing reference. 

Aside from updating many of her 
examples and a few quotes she uses as 
headers in each chapter, the main dif- 
ferences between the fourth edition 
and the others are few, but significant. 
First, she has given "Risk Factors" its 
own chapter instead of including it 
under the "Financial Plan." Next, she 
has added a section on short film dis- 
tribution and has deleted the section 
on internet business plans that 
appeared in the third edition. Most 
importantly, she has inserted a CD- 
ROM supplement that contains work- 
sheets, sample contracts, forms, and 
reference websites. The CD-ROM also 
offers a step-by-step guide on how to 
do projections (particularly useful for 
us non-math wizards). 

After reading this fourth edition of 
Levison's book, I went back to my 
trusty third edition to compare notes. 
I had forgotten how much I had used 
the book. While writing my last plan, I 
went back to the book again and 
again, and I have also used it as rec- 
ommended reading for some of my 
workshops and at consultation ses- 
sions. The new edition is even more 
helpful because, in addition to the 
CD-ROM, all the films and companies 
referenced are current. 

Don't get me wrong, though, 
Levison's book does have its flaws. 
Levison tows the "less is more" line, 
but then goes on to estimate twenty to 
fifty pages for an average plan, which 
seems far longer than most of my 
associates might want to read, let 
alone write. It is also not entirely clear 
where the separation if between 
Levison thinks should actually go into 



April 2004 | The Independent 33 



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the plan and what she is trying to 
teach her readers as common film 
industry knowledge. For example, in 
the "Industry" chapter, she tracks the 
revenues from the box office report 
down to what filmmakers might actu- 
ally see. Some of the information can 
appear disheartening and, if not pre- 



business section of things and go 
straight to the creating part. But 
unfortunately, filmmaking is a busi- 
ness and to make films, in the end, we 
need some business savvy. My lawyer 
always tells me: "You are not only a 
producer, you are also the manager of 
this company and this company is a 



A business plan, for us visionaries, 
represents boring, busy-work and hours of 
solitude in front of a computer. 



sented correctly, might easily turn 
investors off. She also slightly glosses 
over the potential cost of accumulat- 
ing research. Many filmmakers may 
have to pay upwards of $300 - $1,000 
for research. For indie filmmakers, 
that can be a major financial hard- 
ship. Although the CD-ROM has sev- 
eral worksheets that help to facilitate 
putting together projections that will 
save time, it doesn't save money. 

I know filmmakers who don't care 
for Levison's book— most hold MBAs, 
are lawyers, or have experience writing 
business plans for non-film ventures. 
The consensus critique is that her lay- 
out and order of topics doesn't always 
make sense or flow well for a business 
plan. Still, all agree that if you haven't 
written a plan before, Levison's book 
is a good beginner's manual. 

Remember, however, that it is 
never wise to use only one book as 
your sole reference. Consider other 
books, like Film and Video Financing, 
by Michael Weise; allow for business- 
minded friends to read your plan, 
and get as much feedback as possible. 
Don't go it alone. I had at least a half 
dozen people read my last plan 
before it was done. In its final ver- 
sion, it only vaguely resembles the 
first draft I wrote based on Levison's 
outline. Use her book as a jumping 
off point, but also use your common 
sense and gut instincts. 

For filmmakers, writing a business 
plan is daunting. We want to jump the 



business. Filmmaking is a business." 
And people in business need to know 
how to write a business plan. And 
once you understand that, you'll see 
that a business plan is to an investor 
what a script is to potential talent. 

Before I had even finished my plan, 
several potential investors were asking 
to see it, but rarely have any asked to 
read the script it is meant to serve. I 
have used sections of the business 
plan for various grant and financial 
applications, and to show financial 
investment firms looking for film 
projects for their clients to invest in. 
What this means is that when some- 
one shows an interest in your work, 
you don't spend endless nights slap- 
ping together half-baked information. 
It's already written. And it will help 
you to answer any questions a poten- 
tial investor has within seconds, 
which will make you look like a 
genius! Who doesn't like that? 

When all is said and done, 
Filmmakers & Financing: Business Plans 
for Independents, Fourth Edition— if 
only for the CD-ROM— is essential 
reading for anyone about to embark 
on the journey of filmmaking, 
because as Levison says in her book: 
"You never know what opportunities 
may come your way." D 

Amanda Doss is an independent film producer 

currently in development for a feature, 

Diamond Days. She also works as a budget 

and development consultant for filmmakers. 




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April 2004 I The Independent 35 



Public television in America was born as some- 
thing of a brilliant problem child— part rebel, 
part straight-A student. Now at thirty-some- 
thing years old, the stalwart media enterprise, 
still principally driven by its deep-rooted sense of com- 
munity and moralistic integrity, faces the challenge of an 
indeterminate future while trying to honor and learn 
from its past. 

What is commonly termed "public television" is actually 
an ecosystem of three separate entities: the CPB, which pro- 
vides funding for program production and station opera- 
tion; PBS, an organization that services its dues-paying 
member stations with programs, promotion, and structure; 
and stations— 347 broadcasters licensed to provide certain 
mandated programming. This ecosystem and its agility to 
respond to local communities is what gives public television 



the FCC issued licenses to appropriate broadcasters. As the 
televised representation of the Great Society, public televi- 
sion basked in an initial three-year glow before the Nixon 
administration launched its first of many attacks. Nixon 
railed to eliminate public television entirely, but succeeded 
in decentralizing the system and removing power from the 
centers of production in New York and Washington. This 
plan, which was called "localizing" by its perpetrators and 
"neutering" or "balkanization" by its detractors, ensured 
that unlike the commercial networks that exert a great deal 
of control over local operations, public television would 
serve its affiliates, providing them with programming and 
answering to their requests. 

Today, this also means that what programming is avail- 
able to viewers depends very much upon where you live. 
Without a fixed nationwide schedule there can also be no 



Beyond 





TUNING INTO PUBLIC TV-30 YEARS LATER 

By Deirdre Day-MacLeod 



the strength to compete against national networks. 

The monetary and structural problems for public televi- 
sion are ongoing and familiar ones, but a decline in audi- 
ence share, an ever-expanding menu of competitors, and a 
dearth of sponsors newly compound these problems. A 
recent financial analysis found that PBS revenues have fall- 
en at a rate of 2.6 percent per year, as a growing number of 
critics on both the left and right have started to boldly 
question the relevance of the public network. Though, with 
much respected and seemingly tireless PBS president Pat 
Mitchell having just signed on for her second term, and a 
host of options in the digital arena and even in the real 
world (not MTV's version), this is also a time of guarded 
hope for PBS and public television as a whole. 

PBS's original mission, as articulated in the Carnegie 
Report of 1967, which exudes idealism and promise, was, 
in part, an exercise in rectifying the Communications Act 
of 1934, which essentially gave the television airwaves away 
free of charge to commercial interests. Lyndon Johnson 
reclaimed a small portion of public air space and designat- 
ed it for the purpose to "instruct, inspire, and uplift," and 



fixed national promotion emphasizing the date and time 
of a program, unless a show manages to merit "common 
carriage" which can unify the television nation, but disrupt 
the local broadcast schedule. And with only sixteen out of 
347 PBS affiliate stations able to afford to produce and 
broadcast local news, sometimes the local stations seem 
only to exist in terms of the banks of phones lined up dur- 
ing the dreaded pledge drive week. 

Beyond the structural problems inherent in PBS's make- 
up, the financial means of living up to the initial promise 
was never wholly provided. Instead of having an independ- 
ent trust, PBS is beholden to the current administration 
for the precious crumbs that fall its way. Only eleven per- 
cent of the PBS budget emerges from government coffers 
and yet the legislative strings are constantly being pulled 
and manipulated. 

Jerold M. Starr, Executive Director of Citizens for 
Independent Public Broadcasting, points out, however, 
that it's not just the usual suspects who can be blamed as 
the bad guys. "PBS suffers under Republicans and is 
ignored by Democrats," he says. In the 1990s, well-known 



36 The Independent | April 2004 



Republican Newt Gringrich called PBS a "cultural welfare 
program," but one that benefited the richest rather than 
the poorest. 

Conflicting views persist when it comes to the question 
of ratings for public television. According to Laurie 
Ouellette's cultural analysis of public television, Viewers 
Like You?, ratings both are and are not an issue for PBS. 
With too large a mass audience, PBS could become indis- 
tinguishable from the networks and no longer serve as an 
alternative to the often egregiously commercialized mass 
culture, thus prompting the government to question fund- 
ing the enterprise in the first place. Yet if no one watches 
public television at all, then how democratic is it anyway? 

Of all the programming PBS offers, it's kid shows, most 
notably Sesame Street, that have been the clearest represen- 
tation of the original PBS mission statement. And part of 



most preferred to watch MTV rather than PBS program- 
ming. Addressing this sort of generation gap has been a 
problem for PBS. 

Former PBS programming executive Alan Foster, frus- 
trated by bureaucracy and a lack of attention to the needs 
of independent filmmakers, left PBS to found the 
Executive Program Services, a program distributor and 
consultant for public television. Foster sees PBS as a timid 
and sluggish place addicted to its own inner workings and 
cushioned from the world. He suggests that in the early 
1990s PBS was well poised to capitalize on what has now 
become the biggest wave on television— Reality TV. And 
RJ. Cutler, veteran political documentary maker (The War 
Room, A Perfect Candidate), thinks Reality TV came directly 
from the PBS womb: "It was born there." 

When Fox dropped Cutler's documentary series 




Sesame Street's success, says Oulette, is that it incorporates 
aspects of the mainstream rather than distancing itself 
from popular culture altogether. By incorporating pop cul- 
tural references— "brought to you by the letter W," game 
show maven Guy Smiley, and even Monsterpiece Theatre- 
Sesame Street demonstrates its sense of humor and lack of 
pretension. However, some feel that certain PBS children's 
programming has come to draw too heavily on corporate 
underwriting— "brought to you by the letter Z" (as in 
Zirthromycin, an antibiotic for ear infections), prompting 
Ralph Nader to level a charge several years back of "com- 
mercial child molestation," suggesting that Sesame Street 
rename itself '" Huckster Alley ." 

In the 1990s, when Nick, Jr. and other cable channels 
for kids hit the airwaves, PBS lost its monopoly on educa- 
tional children's television fare. And as the kids who were 
weaned on Mr. Roger's cardigans grew into young adults, 

Left to right: The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's aired 
on PBS along with resources; David Fisher's Love Inventory 
on PBS in April; from The Weather Underground, Bernardine 
Dohrn with her son in San Francisco, 1 977. 



American High in 2000, two weeks after the series premiere, 
it was PBS who picked up the banner. The show, then, aired 
both on network and public television with only the ad 
campaign changed— Fox focused on the more voyeuristic 
elements of the series, while PBS served up American High as 
an educational program to help understand the needs of 
teenagers. To Susan Murray, a professor of culture and 
communication at New York University's Steinhardt 
School of Education, and author of Reality TV: Re-making 
Television Culture, PBS's rescue of American High was an 
"attempt on the part of PBS to meet the center without sac- 
rificing quality." 

Still, there are three thriving PBS series devoted entirely 
to the work of independent filmmakers: P.O.V, which 
focuses on nonfiction films; Independent Lens, which airs 
documentaries, dramas, and shorts; and Frontline, dedi- 
cated to current event documentaries. Director Sam Green, 
whose 2004 Oscar-nominated documentary The Weather 
Underground will air on Independent Lens in April, says he 
felt nurtured by PBS from the beginning, and very much 
protected from the corporate structure. "Independent Lens 



April 2004 | The Independent 37 



is a natural outgrowth and a real step in the right direc- 
tion." Green sa\ s. Although HBO had initially expressed an 
interest in Green's project, producers there wanted conces- 
sions he was not willing to make. 

Likewise, Steve James, director of the critically acclaimed 
1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, says of his experience 
with PBS, "I think that the first support [from PBS] was 
vital. It was a struggle for them to help too, because they 
are basically a threadbare operation, and the political situ- 
ation with them having to answer to Congress leaves them 
beholden to Congress for further support." James's latest 
work. The New Americans, a series on the immigrant experi- 







ence, has successfully avoided the two major pitfalls of the 
PBS experience: it has no corporate underwriting and it 
will receive common carriage, airing at the same time on 
the same day throughout the country. 

Lois Vossen, producer and curator of Independent Lens 
(which is produced by the Independent Television Service), 
seems almost a throwback to the early Carnegie Report days, 
untouched by the postmodernist cynicism. "Quality first," 
she says, in regard to her daunting task of winnowing down 
the near 600 submissions to the twenty-nine she can present 
each year. She is quick to add, though, that the selection 
process "can't just be quality, there has to be something for 
the member stations to hook into." Vossen singles out The 
Weather Underground as a perfect example. "It's an emerging 
filmmaker and a social issue," she says. While Vossen con- 
cedes to an active consideration of how the member stations 
can use and market the work, noting such opportunities as 
Black History Month and Women's History Month, she 
maintains a diehard faith in her audience. 

"At PBS we can assume certain intelligence in our audi- 
ence and we can bring issues forward, turning a light on in 



some dark corner," she says. "There are always problems. In 
fact if there aren't then perhaps they aren't doing the job 
they are setting out to do. Perhaps that is the crucial dif- 
ference here— we want people to change, we have outreach 
and a desire to get into the lives of people to improve. 
Whereas commercial television is about reinforcing what is 
already there and being comfortable." 

Depending upon how you look at it, says Jerry Starr, 
localism— sometimes categorized as public television's 
biggest weakness— could easily be its greatest strength, and 
maybe even its saving grace. "With roots in the communi- 
ty, it is like the Ma and Pa shop." Programming stays 
responsive to community mores. Connections forged by 
region have the power to transcend the limits of the televi- 
sion screen. For example, the recent airing of the docu- 
mentary The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's is remarkable 
in that it was accompanied by a host of local resources for 
people dealing with the disease. And many PBS shows 
come with free lesson plans, others evoke local community 
discussion groups, and others still provide the simple yet 
invaluable offering of public hotlines. 

Polls have shown that the main PBS website is among 
the most visited "dot-orgs" on the internet, and with plans 
for real-life educational play spaces across the country and 
a new digital public affairs channel called Public Square in 
the making, John Wilson, Chief Programming Executive at 
PBS, reminds us that, perhaps most importantly, "The 
thing to remember about PBS is that what you see on air is 
actually the top of a pyramid." 

Alyce Myatt, Executive Director of OneWorldTV.com and 
a former producer at PBS, says she is not nostalgic for the 
PBS mission of the 1960s and blames neither the govern- 
ment nor PBS itself for any past, current, and future prob- 
lems the enterprise may have. She blames the viewer. "The 
public needs to refuse to accept less. When was the last time 
you marched on your local public TV station? How many 
independent producers are members of their local station? 
I want it to be better, but we are in a dangerous time right 
now and we need people speaking truth to power." 

By celebrating PBS and public television's localism, and 
challenging individuals to speak out, Myatt's criticism ren- 
ders the possibility that localism and independence can 
continue to come together, poised against the large and 
impersonal, to foster a unique experience and perception 
of the world. Rooted in community rather than estranged 
from mainstream, there is no denying the continued rele- 
vance of PBS. □ 

Deirdre Day-MacLeod is a New Jersey based freelance writer. 



In one episode of The New Americans, Naima pauses to con- 
sider her new life in Chicago. 



38 The Independent | April 2004 



THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS'S 
PROGRESSIVE FILM PROGRAM 



The so-called "Film Brat" generation of the middle 
to late 1970s has been blamed for, or credited 
with, many things regarding independent film- 
making—from sparking off a studio-sanctioned 
Golden Age (Scorsese, Coppola) to ushering in a studio- 
sanctioned Dark Age (Lucas, Spielberg). But whatever the 
myths or merits of that motley band, there's no denying 
one salient detail: collectively, emphatically, they put film 
school on the cultural map. What before were seen as 
havens for dilettantes and theoreticians— if they were seen 
at all— suddenly looked like auteur factories. Indeed, in each 
decade hence, another muscular corps of industry players 
and indie visionaries seemed to spring fully formed from 
the film school godhead, from Spike Lee and Robert 
Zemeckis in the 1980s, to Robert Rodriguez and the Coen 
Brothers in the 1990s. And hundreds more hopefuls could 
point to these examples to validate their own film school 
ambitions, in perpetuity. 

They should know better. There was no factory then and 
there isn't now. (Spielberg and Rodriguez, tellingly, both 
dropped out of their respective programs.) But regardless 
of geographic location, equipment resources, or faculty 
expertise, many film schools try to be all things to all stu- 
dents—trade school, industry launch pad, artistic incuba- 
tor. Few succeed on all fronts, and even the top programs 
in the country acquire reputations for unofficial specialties 
that highlight their strengths and downplay their weak- 
nesses. 

Then there's the University of Texas at Austin. Nestled in 
the heart of a city recently deemed the "best place in the US 
to live and make movies" by Moviemaker magazine, UT's 
RTF (Radio, Television, and Film) program is angling to 
match its nationally renowned documentary reputation 
with a unique drive to teach commercial narrative filmmak- 
ing—all within the auspices of an affordable state school. 



Dr. Thomas Schatz, director of the UT Film Institute and an 
undergraduate student in one of UT's editing rooms. 



By John Pavlus 

Oh, and its production and post equipment is top-shelf 
too. UT may not be all things to all students— yet— but it 
might be the closest any film school has come thus far. 

Let's start with what the school already does well: grass- 
roots documentary. As with other top film schools, the 
graduate program at UT sets the standard for the RTF 
department as a whole. Dr. Thomas Schatz, Ph.D., author 
of seminal film studies texts like The Genius of the System, 
and a mainstay on the RTF faculty for nearly three decades 
(he served as department chair several times), has closely 




tracked the program's growth. "This MFA program is ten 
years old," he says, "and I'd say we really began to hit our 
stride when we hired Paul Stekler." 

Stekler, a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documen- 
tary filmmaker with a Harvard doctorate in government, 
joined RTF as head of the production program in 1997 and 
immediately set about reorganizing the MFA program, hir- 



April 2004 | The Independent 39 



ing a slew of renowned documencarians (such as Andy 
Garrison. Ellen Spiro, and Richard Lewis) and setting up a 
new student fee structure to fund expanded equipment pur- 
chases. The result has been a steady stream of student acco- 
lades including three student Academy Awards, a David L. 
Wolper Student Achievement Award from the International 
Documentary Association, and a regional Emmv. 

While Stekler insists that "there is no philosophic orien- 
tation toward anv particular kind of filmmaking" in his 




program, he acknowledges that "it's a lot easier in some 
ways to have student success be seen in documentary 
work." Sean Cunningham, an RTF undergraduate who 
says he "fell in love" with nonfiction filmmaking partly 
because he couldn't afford the costs of celluloid, shares this 
assessment. "If you talk to any of [the faculty], they don't 
just know about documentary— they're very well versed m a 
lot of other aspects of filmmaking," he says. "But I think 
that the way the department is structured right now sort of 
lends itself [to documentary]. It's cheaper to have classes 
offering a digital experience, and all the instructors are 
working heavily in documentary, so those two factors in 
combination do slant the department in that direction." 

In fact, the program's documentary reputation is so 
strong that it often attracts students who might have other- 
wise focused on fictional narrative— if they were even film- 
makers to begin with. Take Ryan Polomski: after graduating 
from the University of Montana with an English degree, he 
applied to both the RTF and the Journalism departments 
because he "didn't have a lot of experience as far as what 
went into filmmaking." He's now a third-year MFA student 
working on a thirty-minute documentary thesis film. 

"My application was full of short stories and poems and 
this one [undergraduate] narrative film, and some of my 
profs thought that I was going to be a dramatic narrative 
filmmaker," he recalls. "But I was impressed by the docu- 
mentary filmmakers that were here, and when it came time 
to decide what stories I wanted to tell, they always ended 
up being documentary stories." 



Even Cunningham, who has lined up some promising 
post-graduate job prospects in editing, says he's seriously 
considering continuing into the MFA program. "We some- 
times shared class time with Paul Stekler's graduate class," 
he says, "and we really got to see the quality that exists at 
that level." 

Still, not every UT film student wants to be the next 
Morris or Maysles— in fact, Stekler admits that the majori- 
ty don't. "We have close to 700 kids in forty classes doing 
production each semester," Stekler says. "That's a gigantic 
program, and considering that most of our students want 
to have something to do with narrative filmmaking, it 
would be irresponsible of us not to help them come out of 
here with skills that will help them if they go to L.A." 

Matt Ryan is one of those students, or at least was. 
Although he was never fully admitted into the RTF depart- 
ment, he says he "took all the classes I could before you 
have to be in the major." He dropped out of UT last semes- 
ter to, as he puts it, "explore other options"— like interning 
on local Austin shoots and producing indie work through 
his own company, Mister Films. (He's completed two fea- 
tures and a handful of shorts since 2001.) "I met a lot of 
people who were in [the department]," Ryan says. "I don't 
know anybody in RTF who graduated and went right into 
the film industry, which is what I'd like to do." 

In fact. UT alumni (like Warner Brothers director/produc- 
er Thomas Schlamme and Newmarket Films president Bob 
Berney) have risen to the upper echelons of The Business— 
but Tom Schatz agrees with the basic essence of Ryan's senti- 
ment. "We're doing okay in terms of narrative, and we won a 
Student Oscar two years ago [for Helen Haeyoung Lee's film 
Sophie], but it's still not at a level we'd like, in terms of the stu- 
dent work or the quality of the program." 

As a result, Schatz says, UT-Austin is often referred to as 
"the best film school between the coasts"— faint praise 
enveloping an implicit comparison to well-known narra- 
tive/industry powerhouses like NYU and UCLA. Schatz 
hopes that the recent creation of the UT Film Institute will 
remedy this situation and send the RTF program to the top 
of the narrative filmmaking heap. 

Five years in the making and officially launched last 
September, the Film Institute— according to Schatz, its 
principal architect— is "an add-on to the existing MFA pro- 
gram," and meant to fuse conservatory-style film school 
pedagogy with "real world" feature film production. Burnt 
Orange Productions, a private for-profit production com- 
pany formed expressly for this purpose, will partner with 
the Institute to produce "eight to ten high quality, low 
budget independent feature films during its first three 
years of operation," according to a UT press release. 



This page: Thorn Mount at the UT Film Institute's launch in 
September; facing page: documentarian Paul Steklar helped 
form the staff of the Institute. 



40 The Independent | April 2004 



Working either as apprentices to professional depart- 
ment heads or as department heads themselves, RTF grad- 
uate students who wish to specialize in one of six produc- 
tion areas (producing, directing, editing, cinematography, 
production design, and sound) can collaborate on these fea- 
tures to receive credits in both senses of the word: toward a 
graduate degree and on a professional feature. Schatz over- 
sees the initiative's academic side as the Film Institute's 
Executive Director; Carolyn Pfeiffer, former vice chair of the 
AFI Conservatory and a successful independent producer, 
manages the commercial angle as President and CEO of 
Burnt Orange (which opened up shop in October). 

"It's cliched to say, but this is a classic example of a par- 
adigm shift," Schatz asserts. "This will have a conservatory 
dimension to it akin to an art school, but at the same time, 
without question, it's moving toward an architecture 
school, and particularly a medical school, model. In certain 
aspects of higher education, particularly in science and 
technology, this whole idea of commercialization of 
resources is not an issue. In the arts and humanities we've 
not learned to think that way at all; but a film school is a 
different breed of arts/humanities education. We are not a 
trade school, period. But we are a professional school." 

The presence of two such ambitious production pro- 
grams under one roof raises questions about the respective 
philosophies behind narrative and documentary filmmak- 
ing in an educational setting. How distinct are they, and 
how will such distinctions affect RTF faculty and students? 
Schatz says that the Film Institute's apparent status as a 
separate entity (UT technically designates it as a "research 
unit") stems mostly from legal considerations and that "it 
will have a very fluid relationship with the [RTF] depart- 
ment." At the same time, Schatz adds that its mere pres- 
ence "implies a fundamental difference" between the two 
forms of filmmaking. 

Other faculty members, like Richard Lewis, who teaches 
graduate-level producing and screenwriting courses (and 
has been involved in generating ideas for new Film 
Institute-related classes), believe the difference is more 
skin-deep. "For a successful documentary you need much 
of the same stuff that you need in a fictional film," says 
Lewis, who has worked both as a Hollywood story analyst 
and a producer for PBS and National Geographic televi- 
sion. "It sounds crass to say, 'OK, where are your turning 
points,' but when you pitch something to A&E, they're 
going to want to know, 'When we go to commercial, what 
are we ending on?' To me, storytelling is storytelling and 
that's what I stress in the classes I teach." 

Besides, he adds, the culture in the RTF department 
already fosters a good amount of overlap between the two 
orientations. "We make a conscious effort to split the 
incoming MFA admits [into] half narrative and half docu- 
mentary-oriented," he says. "In the years which follow, it's 




I 



fefc> 



amazing to see how many of the people we bring in as doc- 
umentary filmmakers end up doing narrative and vice 
versa. It's happened time and time again." 

Ryan Polomski attests to this intradepartmental cross- 
pollination first-hand. "I bring along my narrative film col- 
leagues into the field to shoot for me," he says, "and I 
helped a fellow classmate write the script for his narrative 
thesis film." 

In the end, Austin itself will continue to unify the RTF 
department's production priorities, as it has for the past 
decade. Whether they're documentary or narrative, com- 
mercial or grassroots, UT filmmakers are universally pas- 
sionate about connecting with their community. For the 

past two years, Andy 
Garrison has been using 
his "Introduction to 
Digital Documentary" 
course to forge a link 
between UT students 
*L^ and the underprivileged 

minority community of 
East Austin. Twice a year 
he and his undergraduate 
students collaborate with 
East Austin citizens on a 
number of intimate doc- 
umentary shorts, which 
are then screened for the 
public in their own neigh- 
borhood. Garrison recently secured funding to archive 
these "East Austin Stories" on video and furnish them for 
sale and checkout at a local community center. 

"If you're going to make documentaries in a place, it's 
important that you're there the next day and people can 
come to you if they have some issue with what you've 
made," Garrison says. 

As for Burnt Orange and the UT Film Institute, Carolyn 
Pfeiffer says that "if we are a window to anywhere else in 
the world where people want to go and make films, fabu- 
lous; but we're really an Austin-based program, and the 
emphasis is really on working with the community and 
sustaining the crew base here." 

With its documentary and narrative programs looking 
more solid each semester, the difference between UT and its 
better-known coastal competition may soon be merely geo- 
graphical. And that alone may still be enough to tip the 
scales— although perhaps not in the direction you'd think. 
After all, Austin needs its film school just as much as the 
film school needs Austin. Specialties and Student Oscars 
aside, that gives it an edge that the coasts just can't claim. D 

John Pavlus is a Brooklyn based freelance writer whose work has appeared 
in Salon, American Cinemarographer, and other magazines. 




April 2004 | The Independent 41 




Diversity 
Initiatives 

ARE THEY REALLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE? 

By Angela Tucker 




yj 



i 



The Sundance Film Festival hosted a record num- 
ber of attendees this year. Up double from last 
year, 40,000 people came to watch or show films, 
participate in panel discussions, and network. 
Apart from the invariable increase in ticket sales and overall 
profit and general notability, the upsurge in festival-goers 
this year also yielded an increase in the people of color who 
attended, and twenty-five percent of the films in the festival 
were directed by filmmakers of color, another remarkable 
boost from last year. 

Among the panels at this year's festival, several addressed 
issues surrounding diversity within American film. One in 
particular, "The New 'New' Black Film," focused specifical- 
ly on the state of black filmmaking in America today. A vir- 
tual Who's Who of black cinema appeared on the panel, 
including Mario Van Peebles, Kasi Lemmons, and Effie 
Brown, many who spoke of different paths that filmmakers 
are taking— can or should take— in order to find success. A 
recurring theme on the panel was the concept and develop- 
ment of diversity initiatives launched by various profit and 
nonprofit organizations within the film industry. 

While several such initiatives exist for the sole purpose of 
showcasing the work of filmmakers and artists of color, 
there still seems to be something of a disconnect between 
that work and what sustains the public conscience. For this 
piece, we looked at four of the diversity initiatives in the 
independent film and public television arena— three estab- 
lished, and one newly launched— to see what it is they do, 
how successful they have been, and whether or not they are 
truly making an impact on the actual number of projects by 
people of color that end up seeing the light of day. 

The National Black Programming Consortium 

In 1979, eight independent black producers created The 
National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) in 
response to the lack of black programming on PBS. Nine 
years later, NBPC is one of the biggest funding supporters 
of media by and about African Americans, giving six million 
dollars to media projects in the last thirteen years. NBPC 
funds eighty percent documentaries and twenty percent 
narrative films. Among NBPC-funded projects are the 
recent critically acclaimed documentaries The Murder of 
Emmett Till and Two Towns of Jasper. 

NBPC is financed by The Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting (CPB), and falls under an umbrella organiza- 
tion called the Minority Consortia— a group comprised of 
five additional grant-giving organizations for artists of var- 
ious races, and which includes The Native American Public 

Facing page, top (left to right): filmmaker Shola Lynch 
(Chisholm 72) and New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell at the 
Sundance 2004 New "New" Black Film panel; Effie T. Brown 
and Nelson George at the Everyday People premiere; 
bottom: cast and crew of Everyday People at the premiere. 



Telecommunications, Latino Public Broadcasting, and 
Pacific Islanders in Communications. The mission of 
NBPC, according to its founding president Mabel Haddock, 
is "to become a major provider of black programming 
worldwide," and to work with PBS and independent pro- 
ducers to achieve that mission. 

This year, NPBC funded films that screened at Sundance 
included Chisholm 72, a one-hour documentary about 
Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and her cam- 
paign for the Democratic party presidential nomination in 
1972, and Brother to Brother, a feature-length drama that fol- 
lows the journey of an eighteen-year-old gay black artist as 
he discovers the hidden legacies of the Harlem Renaissance. 
ITVS, viewed by many in the field as the model diversity ini- 
tiative program, further funded the projects of Lynch and 
Evans after the filmmakers received their initial funding 
from NBPC. The NBPC application process is so selective 
that receiving additional project funding from PBS after 
being granted funds from NBPC is not uncommon. 

Funding from CPB stipulates that all NBPC films find a 
life on PBS. And because PBS has such a limited venue for 
narrative works, finding a matching home for these projects 
can prove difficult. Still, Haddock maintains that, "PBS is 
one of the major venues that is open to change." Independent 
Lens, a PBS program in its second season, features narrative 
and documentary films, both short and long, and serves as 
a forum for work by independent filmmakers taking cre- 
ative risks. Brother to Brother, which was honored with the 
Sundance Special Jury Prize, will be featured on the pro- 
gram next season. 

NBPC also feels a strong allegiance to documentary 
films, something that many grant-giving programs cannot 
claim. And with the rapidly growing interest in documen- 
tary films, the program sustains a certain level of focus on 
getting more and more documentaries on the air. 

When asked about the criticisms she fields about the pro- 
gram, Haddock mentions that some people believe funds 
are awarded primarily to experienced producers. Although 
Chisholm's Shola Lynch was a first-time filmmaker, Lynch 
had the cache of having worked for several years with Ken 
Burns. Still, Haddock insists that NBPC does and is very 
much willing to take chances on emerging filmmakers. 

"Experience is just one of the criteria we look at out. We 
also look for a good distribution plan, what other money is 
in place, the approach to the work." 

See www.nbpc.tv/ for more information. 

The Sundance Institute's 
Native American Initiative 

The Sundance Institute, launched twenty-one years ago by 
Robert Redford, is a hallmark of the independent filmmak- 
ing community. And since the program's inception, the 
Institute has forged a strong and lasting commitment to 



April 2004 | The Independent 43 



supporting Native American film. The Institute's Native 
American Initiative is a multi-tiered program that invites 
four to six Native fellows each year to attend the Sundance 
Independent Producers Conference, which features panel 
discussions and small group sessions, and the opportunity 
to network with independent film industry leaders. The 
program also provides funding for two to four projects 
annually, and hosts the Native Forum program during the 
Sundance Film Festival. 

The Native American Initiative was introduced to help 
counter inaccurate portrayals of Native Americans in con- 
temporary film, and to encourage creative control for 
Native and Indigenous filmmakers. "Through the molding 
and teachings of craft to indigenous filmmakers," says 
Kamira Kipp, a staff associate at the Native American 
Program, "[We hope to] get a message out to indigenous 
filmmakers to think outside the box as far as content, [and] 
to move more into a modern and contemporary way of 
telling stories." 

Among the most successful projects to emerge from 
the program is Smoke Signals, written by Sherman Alexie 
and directed by Chris Eyre. Developed through both the 
Sundance Screenwriting Lab and the Director's Lab, 
Smoke Signals took home the 1998 Sundance Film 
Festival's Audience Award, Filmmaker's Trophy, and 
the Grand Jury Award. "All [program] included film- 
makers have had their films shown at the festival for 
many years and keep returning with new works," says 
Kipp. The initiative was recently honored at The 
Producer's Guild of America's 2nd Annual Celebration 
of Diversity for their commitment to cultivating Native 
producers in the film industry. 

N. Bird Runningwater, director of the Native Initiative, 
who was unavailable for comment, travels all over the world 
to spread the word about the program and to seek out 
works by Native filmmakers. Still, says Kipp, it is difficult to 
find a caliber of work that meets the standard of other 
Sundance projects. "The hope for the future of the program 
is to bridge the gap that exists in the quality of craft in the 
works that are being submitted to the program," Kipp says. 
"Native and indigenous film still stands at one of the lowest 
rates of craft and quality. Through nurturing and helping 
prepare writers, directors, and producers to apply to our 
various selection of filmmaking labs here at the Institute. 
That is where the first step begins." 

Kipp believes that a lack of resources prevents many 
Native and indigenous artists from learning the craft of 
filmmaking. To that end, this year the Native Institute 
sponsored a private screenwriters lab at the festival, with 
three Native writing fellows and one producer fellow, dur- 
ing which industry professionals gave feedback on scripts 
and projects written and presented by the fellows. 

See http://institute.sundance.org for more information. 



The Tribeca All Access Program 

In December 2003, the Tribeca Film Institute announced a 
new program called Tribeca All Access. Set to debut at the 
2004 Tribeca Film Festival, the objective of All Access is to 
create networking opportunities and visibility to filmmak- 
ers of color, and to act as a bridge between US based film- 
makers of color and the film industry at large, with the goal 
of acquiring representation and/or financial backing that 
will assist their projects from development to production. 
Nancy Schaffer and David Kwok, programmers for last 
year's 2nd Annual Tribeca Film Festival, launched the pro- 
gram after noticing a shortage of films submitted to the fes- 
tival by American filmmakers of color. 

The program will select twenty projects— ten documen- 
taries and ten narratives— culled from an open call to film- 
makers of color. Each selected project and its filmmaking 
team (which can consist of writers/producers/directors) will 
be given meetings with representatives and development 
executives from production companies such as Focus 
Features, Sony Pictures Classics, and Think Films; US and 
international sales agents, literary agents, and equity finan- 
ciers. At the end of the program, one narrative and one doc- 
umentary project will be selected to win an award for an 
undisclosed amount. 

Beth Jason, manager and co-director of the program, 
says, countering the oft-made criticism that these sorts of 
programs are launched to appease white liberal guilt, that 
the initiative is "not from the big white man who wants to 
be benevolent to people of color." Indeed, one of the 
founders, David Kwok, is Asian American, and the submis- 
sions evaluation committee is made up largely of people of 
color from the industry— Warrington Hudlin, founder and 
president of the Black Filmmaker Foundation; David Henry 
Hwang, writer and playwright; and Carlos Sandoval, pro- 
ducer of recent Sundance award-winner, Farmingville. 

By spreading the word through various listservs, commu- 
nity based media programs, colleges and universities, All 
Access hopes to reach filmmakers of color who might oth- 
erwise not read about festival competitions or pick up the 
latest issue of Variety. All Access also offers a reduced sub- 
mission fee for applicants who are members of various 
media organizations such as AIVF, Cinevision, and 
DVRepublic, among others. 

In creating the program, Hanson said, and from looking 
at other diversity initiatives, it became clear that many 
diversity programs try to do too much. By focusing on film- 
makers who are in pre-production, All Access hopes to give 
filmmakers the help they need to make their projects come 
to fruition. 

See www.tribecafilminstitute.com for more information. 

IFP/New York presents the No Borders Market, an international 
collaborative venture that brings together mid-career and documentary 
filmmakers with potential financing partners. See www.ifp.org. 



44 The Independent | April 2004 



IFP/Los Angeles Project Involve 

Created in 1993, the IFP/Los Angeles Project Involve is a 
mentorship, training, screening, and job placement pro- 
gram designed to promote cultural diversity in the film 
industry. Through one-on-one mentorships and filmmak- 
ing workshops, aspiring filmmakers gain practical experi- 
ence, the opportunity to hone their craft, and the chance to 
make valuable contacts. Candidates can apply to either the 
spring or fall cycle— each run four months long, and accept 
twenty participants of color— and in several categories that 
range from directing and writing to costume design and 
film programming. 

The main goal for the program, says Pamela Tom, Project 
Involve Director, is for the participants to "create a commu- 
nity amongst themselves," in an effort to encourage a cross- 
discipline, cross-cultural buddy system. The program, Tom 
emphasizes, is as good as its mentorships. And although "it 



this year's Sundance panel on "New Black Film." 

"IFP, Sundance, all these organizations are supportive. 
Many people of every color fail because they want to be 
artists without trying to learn the building blocks to get the 
job done," Brown said. 

The IFP/New York also runs a Project Involve program. See www.ifp.org 
for details. 

While all four of these initiatives stand out in their efforts 
to help filmmakers of color, it will be a long time before we 
will be able to see their impact and that of others like them. 
Though it is important to note that because each program 
was started by organizations well respected in the film 
industry, participants will benefit merely by association. 

There are many elements to consider when assessing the 
advantages of individual diversity programs. A large part of 
getting anywhere in the film industry is knowing the right 




is hard to guarantee twenty great relationships," she says, 
Project Involve continues to attract great talent and direc- 
tors to serve as mentors, including John Singleton and 
Alexander Payne, and actor/director Forest Whitaker. Last 
year, 2003 mentee Beanie Barnes was paired with thirteen 
director Catherine Hardwicke. They hit it off so well that 
Hardwicke hired Barnes to be her assistant on her next film. 
Tom maintains that stories like this are not uncommon and 
are, in fact, what the program is all about. 

After leaving the program, mentees are provided with 
career training workshops, individual career counseling, 
and access to quality job listings and referrals. While it may 
always be difficult to find work in the field, Project Involve 
has its fair share of success stories. Effie Brown, a producer 
of Real Women Have Curves and Jim McKay's latest feature, 
Everyday People, and an alumnus of Project Involve, praised 
the program and other similar diversity initiatives during 



Scenes from Stanley Nelson's acclaimed The Murder of 
Emmett Till, a NBPC-funded documentary. 



people who can help you to get your projects made, and so 
while the names of IFP and Tribeca might be more helpful 
knocking down doors and accessing certain must-know 
people, NBPC provides one crucial thing that all filmmak- 
ers need to get their projects done: cash. And Sundance, 
both its Native Program and its overall mission, provides a 
little bit of everything but with special attention to aiding 
the improvement of filmmakers' art. 

Finally, these programs and the funding they provide 
cannot guarantee audiences for the work of filmmakers of 
color, nor can they convince executives to take chances or 
spend money. But they are steps in the right direction, and 
combined with the personal perseverance, drive, and flat 
out luck required of any filmmaker, no matter what race, 
nationality, or ethnic background, diversity initiatives may 
change the face of American filmmaking in ways as yet 
unimagined. O 

Angela Tucker is a Brooklyn based filmmaker 

and producer. She works at Big Mouth Productions, 

a social issue documentary production company. 



April 2004 | The Independent 45 





I 



eann 



ERROL MORRIS ANSWERS FOR HIS FILM 

By Livia Bloom 



Questions of personal responsibility and pub- 
lic accountability lie at the heart of The Fog of 
War, the latest work from celebrated docu- 
mentary filmmaker Errol Morris. In the 
film, Morris uses his satiric wit, his multi-lensed 
Interretron, and his fascination with morality, intelli- 
gence, power, and politics to profile former Secretary of 
Defense Robert S. McNamara. (The Interretron is the 
"teleprompter/camera" Morris designed to capture direct 
eye contact with a subject on film. Etymology: "interview" 
plus "terror.") 



Once the icon of American corporate and military 
might, McNamara, now eighty-six, discusses America's mil- 
itary action and policy during his career in an effort to 
finally set the record straight. 

The result is a layered and complex documentary that 
deftly reveals the violence, power, and scope of 
McNamara's experience, and exposes the various shades of 
meaning beneath the former Defense Secretary's words— 
their implications, subtext, idiosyncrasy, and their shock- 
ing relevance today. 

Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara in The 
Fog of War. 



46 The Independent | April 2004 



Lesson Plan 

Livia Bloom: Mr. Morris, I'm delight- 
ed to talk to you about your film The 
Fog of War. Can you tell us how you 
got involve with . . . 
Errol Morris: Why did you like it? Let 
me askyou. 

LB: Why did I like it? Well, hmm . . . 
can I tell you at the end? 
EM: No! 

LB: No? I have to tell you now? 
EM: Yeah. I'm curious, (laughs) 
LB: Well, I thought Fog of War's 
organization around "McNamara's 
Eleven Lessons" was appropriate. [A 
more traditional documentary might 
be structured chronologically but 
here, inter-titles periodically give 
numerical "Lessons," which in turn 
are detailed by footage from 
McNamara's interview.] For me, it 
fits the way that McNamara corrects 
himself throughout the film, saying, 
"Oh wait, let me go back ..." Did you 
structure the film to suit the often 
"revisionist" nature of history? 
EM: The lessons came into the movie 
very late in the game. In this movie, 
like every movie that I've done, the 
deck has been shuffled and reshuf- 
fled. McNamara himself at the very 
beginning of the film says, "Learn the 
lessons and pass them on." So I start- 
ed to think, "What are the lessons?" 
as a way of focusing the film. 

People have complained that [the 
lesson structure is] somehow a sim- 
plification. I don't look at it that 
way at all because I don't think that 
the lessons in any way summarize 
the film. They have, if anything, an 
ironic, absurdist quality that leads 
you from one step to the other. At 
Lesson Eleven, you end up with: 
"You can't change human nature"— 
the lesson that tells you that all the 
other lessons don't matter. We can't 
help but repeat what we do no mat- 
ter what! 

LB: One of McNamara's lessons is: 
"Never answer the question asked of 
you, answer the question you wish 
you had been asked." Did you find it 



difficult to get him to give you 
straight answers? 

EM: It's never clear what a "straight 
answer" might be. Questions and 
answers are very peculiar. They're 
often interesting when the answer 
actually has nothing whatsoever to 
do with the question. 
LB: So if he didn't answer, did you 
look at it from an almost anthropo- 
logical perspective? 
EM: McNamara is a person who's 
been interviewed by literally, I would 
imagine, tens of thousands of jour- 
nalists over the years, so not every- 
thing is original [to the film]. But I've 
never really believed in that style of 
interviewing where you're supposed 
to coax some kind of answer out of 
your subject— particularly the answer 
that someone doesn't want to give. 
People will tell you interesting things 
no matter what, if you give them 
the opportunity to do so. And that 
was certainly true in this case. I was 
told many surprising things by 
McNamara, and as usual, he told me 
things that I could never have asked 
questions about, simply because I 
didn't know enough to ask them. 

The firebombing of Japan is a per- 
fect example of McNamara telling me 
a story that no one really knows 
about. There have been several full- 
length biographies of him— he has 
appeared in countless books as a 
major character, if not the central 
character. Yet there is no mention in 
any of those of the firebombing of 
Japan, or the role he played with 
[General] Curtis LeMay both in 
Europe and in the Marianas. So that 
was something altogether unexpect- 
ed and really, really interesting. 

Also, it was within five or ten min- 
utes of the beginning of my first 
interview with him that he said: "Our 
side won ... or else we would have 
been considered war criminals." This 
is the kind of thing you expect to 
hear after the twenty hours of inter- 
viewing, not the first five minutes— 
but there it was. 



LB: McNamara says in the film that 
his earliest memory from the end of 
World War I is of "a city exploding 
with joy"— at the same time Woodrow 
Wilson believed we had "won the war 
to end all wars." McNamara told that 
story, in the same words, in at least 
seven different places . . . 
EM: Really? You know it's interesting 
that you researched those lines. I 
think it's a good thing to do, and an 
interesting thing to do, and most 
people don't do that sort of thing. 
LB: Among the times he told that 
story were two ECAAR (Economists 
Allied for Arms) Japan symposia. He 
said the same thing in 1995, and then 
again in 1998 to the same group of 
people! 

EM: (Laughs.) You know, James and 
Janet Blyte, who have written two 
books now with McNamara, actually 
had [the phrase]: "It was a city 
exploding with joy" printed on a cup! 
LB: McNamara has been called "Mr. I 
Have All the Answers," and he cer- 
tainly has an amazing understanding 
of how to draw significant conclu- 
sions from statistical data. How did 
you prepare yourself to speak his lan- 
guage? 

EM: Well, I tried to do my homework. 
He told me that I was one of the very, 
very few people who he had talked to 
that had actually read his books— and 
I had read them. I researched lots of 
stuff he talked to me about. On the 
firebombing of Japan— we actually 
went to various archives and found (I 
think we're actually the first people 
to look at this stuff in sixty years!) 
his work product from World War II. 
We found the actual documents that 
he wrote advising that the accuracy 
of the B29s bombing from high alti- 
tudes was such that the bombing was 
ineffective. [These documents led 
directly to an increase in the "effi- 
ciency" of the campaign (i.e. the use 
of/zrebombs dropped from lower alti- 
tudes) and had what McNamara con- 
siders a "disproportionately devastat- 
ing" effect on Japan.] 



April 2004 | The Independent 47 



I also was able to give McNamara 
the transcript of [several telephone 
conversations] between he and 
Johnson— or even the actual record- 
ings—and asked him: "What was 
Johnson really saying here? What 
were you really saying here? What was 
going on between you two?" 
LB: Had McNamara heard the tapes 
before? 

EM: A few of them he had accessed 
with Ladybird's permission while he 
was in the process of writing his 
book. In Retrospect, but most of them 
he had not heard, and many of them 
have still not been released by the 
Lvndon Johnson Librarv. 
LB: Here's good preparation: you 
used to be a private detective. 
EM: One of the funny things about 
my private detective work, when I was 
an out-of-work filmmaker, is that I 
wasn't dome; anvthm^ different from 
what I was doing all along: just talk- 
ing to people, getting them to talk to 
me, and trying to remember stuff. 
LB: Many Americans, in describing 
McNamara, mention In Retrospect as 
the place where he admits regret for 
some of the decisions he made as 
Secretary of Defense. Why does Fog of 
War not mention his decision to write 
In Retrospect, or what some see as his 
"change of heart"? 

EM: Hmm, that is a very complex 
question. I got interested in inter- 
viewing McNamara after I read In 
Retrospect, which came out in 1995. I 
read the book, and it struck me as 
very strange— it still strikes me as very 
strange. Then I read reviews of the 
book, and I remember feeling [that] 
almost all of the reviews got it wrong. 
There was only one review— it was 
Christopher Lehman-Haupt's in the 
New York Times, which said some- 
thing to the effect of: "You know, this 
book really isn't a mea culpa." Which 
it isn't— it was written about endless- 
ly as a mea culpa. Instead, [Lehman- 
Haupt] said. "This book is far crazier 
than that." And it is. 

A mea culpa is: You say, "I did some- 



thing wrong," "It was my fault," and 
"I'm sorry." To be a mea culpa as I 
understand it, you have to have all 
three of these basic ingredients. 

But McNamara does not sav "I'm 
sorrv; " McNamara does not sav. "I 
did something wrong." Instead, he 
says, "The war was wrong." And you 
could call it an evasion ... I don't 
even think that that is quite right. I 
think it's someone really tortured 
by his own past. As if by going 
through a detailed recitation of 
what happened, somehow he could 
figure it out. 

I actually find [that] more powerful 
than a mea culpa. I once told my son 
that when you say, "Excuse me" and 
"I'm sorry," it doesn't give you license 
to do anything you want. You can cut 
someone's head off with a battleaxe 
and then you say, "Excuse me" and 
"I'm sorry," and then supposedly it's 
okay? I think what [McNamara has] 
done is far more interesting. It's not 
about redemption. I think it's one of 
the things that disturbs people— and 
infuriates people. It's about trying to 
understand, what the hell happened? 
Or. what the hell happened to me? 

It's very easv. to sort of imagine the 
[David] Halberstam view of 
McNamara: Best and the Brightest, 
Number-Cruncher, Statistician, Guy 
Who Couldn't Relate To People, 
Devoid of Human Values. Ethical 
Sensibility, tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la- 
la. I don't think it's true of 
McNamara. I think the disturbing 
thing is that this was a man with real 
ethical dimension who did some- 
thing terrible— something that never 
will be redeemed. 

I'm not a great believer in redemp- 
tion. I mean, part of the ugly truth is 
that you do bad things and they 
remain bad things forever! No matter 
what you do. 

The Grand Illusion 

EM: It goes back to my lessons again. 
There was an element of my favorite 
writer, Nabokov, in structuring the 



film around those lessons— an ele- 
ment of his circularity, of ending up 
where you started, where Lesson #11 
tells you to "Ignore all the other les- 
sons." And what is his first lesson? 
Well, it's not enumerated in the film 
as such, there's not a Lesson #1, but 
the "city exploding with joy" is 
McNamara's first memory. It's this 
memory of people cheering in the 
streets. But the memory is clouded by 
the memory of a flu epidemic in 
which millions of people were dying! 
So you see the people cheering in the 
streets, wearing these gauze masks. 
And then, he tells you, as if that's not 
enough of a harbinger of things to 
come, he tells you that it was Wilson's 
"War to end all wars." The war that 
ushered in the worst violence in 
human history! And I think that's at 
the center of the story. If at the end 
McNamara tells you that he's come 
back to where he started, that's where 
he started. 

This would be the sad element for 
me. [McNamara] started with what 
Renoir called "The Grand Illusion"— 
that there ever could be an end to 
war. that human behavior in some 
sense is tractable, and can ever be 
ameliorated. A very simple theme: 
We're fucked. 

EM: You know, today, we have the 
new version: it's not called "The War 
to End All Wars" anymore, it's called, 
"Preventive War: The War to Prevent 
All Wars." A lovely thought, don't 
\-ou agree? 

LB: Since you ask, I disagree. War 
may not be inherent to human 
nature. I believe war occurs when we 
allow our creativity and ingenuity to 
fail. 

EM: Really? Hmm. Well, there's 
always the Three Guineas Approach. 
LB: I'm sorry? 
EM: Blame the men. D 

Liuia Bloom is a New York based 

writer and an active member of both 

the film and design communities. 



48 The Independent | April 2004 



legal 



Own Your Art 

A RE-PRIMER ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW 
By Monique Cormier 




aking and producing 
independent films is 
a heady and exhaust- 
ing business— there 
are a million and one things that 
you have to constantly keep in 
check. And because it's an art form, 
it can be easy to forget that there are 
rules to be followed. This article is a 



intangible work products. These 
intangible work products, generally 
referred to as "works of authorship," 
include moving pictures (films), 
audiovisual works, literary works 
(which includes screenplays), and dra- 
matic and musical works. 

Copyright protection arises auto- 
matically at the time a creative work is 



that your copyright is infringed. 

Once established, copyright protec- 
tion for works created by individuals 
lasts for seventy years after the death 
of the author, and for works created 
by corporations (called "works for 
hire"), ninety-five years after publica- 
tion of the work or 120 years after the 
work's creation, whichever is earlier. 

As the holder of a copyright in 
your work, you have the sole and 
exclusive right to make copies of your 
work, distribute copies to the public, 
adapt the work, display the work 
publicly, and perform the work pub- 
licly. You also have the right to 




Not taking proper care of your own intellectual 
property rights and not adhering to the rules 
protecting others' intellectual property could very well 
come back to haunt you later. 



brief overview and refresher of the 
basic law of intellectual property— 
which most filmmakers know exists 
but might not be able to readily 
define in simple terms— focusing 
primarily on those aspects of the law 
that filmmakers and screenwriters 
will almost certainly encounter dur- 
ing their careers. 

When you get beyond the inherent- 
ly ostentatious sounding term "intel- 
lectual property," its definition is fair- 
ly simple: the ownership of creative 
work. For the most part, intellectual 
property law regards the creator of a 
work as its owner, and generally 
encompasses three separate but relat- 
ed legal doctrines: copyright law, 
trademark law, and patent law. For the 
sake of space and immediate rele- 
vance, this piece will focus on the doc- 
trine that is most applicable to film- 
makers—copyright law. 

Broadly speaking, copyright law 
establishes a system of property rights 
for the creators of certain types of 



fixed in a "tangible medium of 
expression"— examples of which 
might include a filmmaker's audio or 
film tape, or an artist's canvas. 
Copyright protection for a work does 
not depend on complying with for- 
malities such as registering the copy- 
right with the US Copyright Office, 
depositing copies of your work with 
the Library of Congress, or using 
copyright notices on copies of your 
work. Nevertheless, you should con- 
sider following these formalities as 
they may confer additional protec- 
tion for your works. 

For example, a registered copyright 
establishes a public and searchable 
record of your copyright claim, which 
puts others on notice of your rights; 
it secures your right to file an 
infringement suit in the US courts 
(assuming that your work was creat- 
ed in the US); and it provides you 
with a more comprehensive range of 
remedies, including statutory dam- 
ages and attorney's fees, in the event 



authorize others to take advantage of 
those exclusive rights, either in whole 
through a sale of the work itself or in 
part through a license. 

License agreements typically include 
provisions for such things as royalty 
payments (similar to paying rent), 
duration of the license, the scope of the 
license i.e., geographical or media, the 
manner in which the work may be 
used by the licensee, termination cir- 
cumstances, and the name to be car- 
ried on the notice of copyright (if one 
exists). Licenses can be either exclusive 
or non-exclusive. An exclusive license 
means that once the author has trans- 
ferred the rights to the other party, the 
author may not transfer those rights 
to a third party. A non-exclusive 
license means the author is free to 
transfer those rights to more than one 
party. 

Whether a copyright owner sells or 
licenses a copyright to another per- 
son, the terms of the transaction 
should alwavs be memorialized in a 



April 2004 | The Independent 49 



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written agreement between the parties 
so the parties can enforce their rights 
in court. Although oral contracts for 
non-exclusive licenses are enforceable 
in some cases, proving the facts in 
court in the absence of a document 
that indicates the understanding of 
the parties can prove quite difficult 
and expensive. 

There are limitations on the exclu- 
sive property rights enjoyed by the 
author of a copyrighted work. The 
copyright law doctrine of "Fair Use" 
makes it lawful to use a copyrighted 
work without permission, based upon 
specific criteria. This means that in 
certain circumstances, for instance 
when copyrighted portions of your 
work are used for criticism, news 
reporting, social commentary, or 
teaching, others may utilize parts of 
your work without infringing on your 
copyright. Copyright law also pro- 
vides for joint ownership of a work, in 
which case each of the contributing 
authors to the copyrighted work has 
the right to use or license the work 
without requiring permission from 
the other. 

As important as it is to protect 
works that you create against unau- 
thorized use by others (often referred 
to as infringement), it is equallv 
important to protect yourself from 
claims made against you for infringing 
the intellectual property rights of 
other parties. 

Filmmakers should not rely too 
heavily on the "Fair Use" doctrine dis- 
cussed above, as it has only been 
applied very narrowly by courts con- 
sidering the question. The best rule 
for using the copyrighted materials of 
others is to clear the rights before- 
hand. As with all rights clearances, 
filmmakers should never assume that 
permission to use the material would 
be granted. The rule is the same with 
releases: get them. When you find 
yourself in one of the legal gray zones, 
it is always advisable to get the opin- 
ion of experienced legal counsel. 



Not taking proper care of your own 
intellectual property rights and not 
adhering to the rules protecting oth- 
ers' intellectual property could very 
well come back to haunt you later. 
While engaging a lawyer might be 
expensive, it could be a whole lot more 
expensive to go back to the drawing 
board in order to fix an agreement 
that wasn't done right the first time. 

Now that people use the internet 
for just about everything, the tenets 
of US copyright law are being 
stretched to cover many circum- 
stances for which they were not ini- 
tially intended. There are many legal 
and policy challenges to copyright 
resulting from the increased usage of 
digital technology, which makes the 
copying and manipulating of copy- 
righted works much easier than it 
once was. Many feel that, while the 
US copyright system was designed to 
encourage innovation and the shar- 
ing of works with the public, it is now 
being used to squelch innovation via 
the imposition of more stringent 
intellectual property' laws. One thing 
is for sure, copyright holders- 
authors, filmmakers, musicians, and 
others— will only be able to take full 
advantage of the internet as a power- 
ful distribution channel if their cre- 
ations are appropriately protected. D 

To learn more about copyright law 
and copyright registration procedures, or 
if you are interested in new and pending 
copyright legislation, review the informa- 
tion provided by the U.S. Copyright 
Office at www.copyright.gov. You can 
also request copies of documents and 
copyright registration forms from the 
Copyright Office, Acquisitions and 
Processing Division, Library of Congress, 
Washington, D.C. 20559. 

More information can also be found at 
www.piercelaw.edu/tfield/ipbasics.html and 
www.copyright.umich.edu/law.html. 

Monique Cormier is a New York based 
corporate attorney. 



50 The Independent | April 2004 



policy 



Station Agents 

HOW WILL THE REPUBLICANS HANDLE PBS? 
By Matt Dunne 



When PBS viewers 
turn on their televi- 
sions in June they'll 
find an unfamiliar 
face: Tucker Carlson, the conservative 
pundit and partisan star of CNN's 
Crossfire, who is being brought in to 
host a new program called "The 
Tucker Carlson Show." He won't be 
the first Carlson conservative to echo 
the PBS airwaves. Carlson's father, 
Richard W. Carlson, a journalist who 
currently contributes to the Weekly 
Standard, Christian radio, and the 
Washington Times, was head of the 
Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
under the first Bush administration. 
Tucker's new show, according to PBS 
affiliate WETA's press release, will 
offer "the keen insight and wry 
humor" of Carlson. Its programming 
is part of an effort to bring more con- 
servative faces to public television, 
and to make the Corporation for 
Public Broadcasting more palatable to 
conservative Americans. 

Such changes, however, aren't just 
happening onscreen. They're happen- 
ing offscreen, too. Some new appoint- 
ments to the CPB's board of directors 
have many supporters of public televi- 
sion and independent film and video 
feeling mighty nervous these days. 

Recently appointed board members 
Cheryl Halpern and Gay Hart Gaines 
have lots of board experience. Halpern 
has served on the Board for 
International Broadcasting and the 
Washington Institute for Near East 
Policy. Gaines has served on the 
boards of the Best Friends 
Foundation, the New York City Ballet, 
and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. 
That all sounds fine. What doesn't 
sound so fine is that both women 
have strong partisan connections. 



Halpern has also been in leadership 
roles on the boards of the 
International Republican Institute 
and the Republican Jewish Coalition. 
And Gaines is the former chairwoman 
of GOPAC, Newt Gingrich's GOP 
political action committee. To make 
matters worse, both Halpern and 
Gaines are in the very top tier of polit- 
ical contributors— their families per- 
sonally gave a total of $816,000 to 
Republican causes over the last decade 
and a half. 

So what is actually wrong with 
that? CPB board members are politi- 
cal appointees, so it's only natural 
that they reflect the political persua- 
sions of the current administrations. 

While a look at both Halpern and 
Gaines' donations to the Republican 
party raise concerns about whether the 
CPB board membership is for sale (an 



Public Broadcasting) on the CPB 
board. There was a time when conser- 
vatives wanted to do away with the 
CPB, and Republican appointments to 
the board were made with an end to 
starving the station. But when the 
Gingrich Congress tried to dismantle 
the CPB in the mid-1990s, the public 
outcry was intense. Viewers who had 
grown up on Sesame Street and other 
public television shows of the late 
1970s and early 1980s contacted their 
congressional representatives, asking 
them to save the station. Arts groups 
and advocates for children spoke up. 
The CPB was saved. 

The new approach is to stop trying 
to kill the CPB and to start trying to 
make it work for the new conservative 
agenda. The Bush administration has 
two goals: to more aggressively con- 
trol content for conservative benefit, 
and to redirect resources away from 
national programming and toward 
locally produced (and usually less 
political) shows. If there was any 
doubt that the Bush administration 
has such an agenda, Halpern's testi- 
mony at her confirmation hearing in 




The new approach is to stop 
trying to kill the CPB and to start 
trying to make it work for 
the new conservative agenda. 



issue also raised by Clinton nomina- 
tions in the early 1990s), the more crit- 
ical issue is how these latest appointees 
are part of the Bush administration's 
plan to enact policy change. 

Halpern and Gaines join chairman 
Kenneth Tomlinson, former editor-in- 
chief of Reader s Digest and the Director 
of Voice of America during the Reagan 
Administration, and Katherine Milner 
Anderson, whose husband is the for- 
mer chief of staff to Sen. Trent Lott (a 
consistent critic of the liberal bias of 



November should have made things 
crystal clear, when she said she 
approves of CPB Board members exer- 
cising more control over the program 
content, and suggested that the board 
impose accountability and penalties 
for broadcasts it deems unbalanced. 
Later, in a public hearing, she agreed 
with Sen. Trent Lott's statement that 
Bill Moyers is "the most partisan and 
nonobjective person I know in media 
of any kind." 

If the additions to the CPB board 



April 2004 | The Independent 51 




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give rhe Bush administration new 
power over content allowed on public 
television, then the upcoming 
reauthorization of the Public 
Broadcasting Act, slated for this year, 
looks likely to get ugly. During 
the reauthorization process, the 
Republican majontv in Congress 
could push through any number of 
policy changes that would fundamen- 
tally alter the CPB. Any efforts to 
introduce censorship of content by 
the board will be fought by supporters 
of public television, but having voices 
like Halpern's advocating for greater 
board control will make the adminis- 
tration's task easier in Congress. 

And the new conservative majority 
isn't waiting for reauthorization to 
start reshaping the face of public tele- 
vision, either. Even without the 
authority to censor programming 
considered politically biased, the new 
board is already getting involved with 
introducing more conservative pro- 
gramming like Tucker Carlson's show. 
The new board also seems likelv to 
further devolve the power of the CPB. 

When the CPB Future Fund was 
set up six years ago, the board made 
S8 million available to local stations. 
The idea was to encourage the sta- 
tions to build long-term capacity and 
sustainabilitv. The fund helped sta- 
tions set up major giving programs, 
make investments in technology 
such as digital archives, and create 
shared master control facilities. But 
on Januarv 26. 2004. with the new 
board in place, board members felt 
these resources reflected too much 
centralized control and decided to 
cut the fund in half, redirecting S4 
million directly to stations through- 
out the country. 

The new board is already creating a 
stir in the broadcasting world, with 
many traditional supporters of CPB 
concerned about the new oversight. 
But the implications for the independ- 
ent film community remain to be seen. 

The potential down side, however, 
is much more frightening. How far 



could the board go in "balancing" 
political views it deems too biased? If 
program funding is reduced, the 
board will be making decisions about 
which programs to cut and which to 
keep. Knocking Bill Movers off the air 
might be too obvious, but the twelve- 
year-old POV program, which has also 
raised conservatives' hackles, has 
fewer defenders. As POV is one of the 
major national outlets for independ- 
ent film documentarv makers, losing 
it would be a tremendous blow. 
Furthermore, the board could start 
policing local programming. Making 
content approval a prerequisite of fed- 
eral funding to local affiliates could 
be next, limiting localism to the 
board's choice of voice. 

Those who care about the contin- 
ued survival of CPB should be watch- 
ing the upcoming reauthoriz- 
ation very closely. Conservatives in 
Congress could hold out for 
increased programming control for 
the board, or implement any number 
of changes that could alter public 
television's mission. Equal attention 
should be focused on the budget pri- 
ority decisions under the current 
control of the board and the new 
president. Even before lawmakers 
have the opportunity to formally 
remove the buffer between Congress 
and content on PBS (the role CPB 
was charged to play at its inception), 
the new board may put changes in 
motion through new programming, 
and it may force cuts in the name of 
devolution and localism. 

If the new board gets its way, inde- 
pendent film may lose a critical outlet 
or be forced to compromise content. 
As bad, we may end up with the Fox 
version of "Fair and Balanced" on our 
public airwaves. D 

Matt Dunne is the Democratic state senator of 
Vermont, and the founder of the Vermont Film 

Commission. Previously, he served two-and-a- 
half years as National Director ofAmeriCorps 
VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and 

four terms as a Vermont state representative. 



52 The Independent | April 2004 



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technology 



Avid Xpress Pro 

AN EXEMPLARY EDITING PACKAGE 
By Greg Gilpatrick 



Avid's editing products 
have been a fixture of the 
nonlinear editing world 
for over a decade. 
Historically, their products have been 
expensive "turnkey" systems made 
from souped-up computers with 
expensive proprietary add-ons. 
Usually, an Avid system costs many 
thousands of dollars. The emergence 
of software-only editing systems like 
Final Cut Pro, however, has challenged 
the dominance of turnkey 
systems, and much of the 
editing world's attention has 
turned away from Avid. Avid 
Xpress Pro is the product 
that should make editors 
turn back around and take 
notice again. 

Avid Xpress Pro, a new 
software-only editing pro- 
gram, offers much of the 
power of Avid's high-end 
editing systems for less than 
$2,000 in a package that can 
be run on a variety of Mac 
and PC computers. Betting 
that Avid wouldn't ship a 
buggy editing product, I edited a short 
film with Xpress Pro for six weeks 
nearly non-stop. And after using the 
program, I feel confident in saying 
that Avid Xpress Pro is an exemplary 
editing package that provides the 
power of Avid's turnkey systems in an 
affordable software-only package that 
makes only a few compromises, prov- 
ing that Avid understands the new 
market for affordable professional 
software-only editing packages that 
run on standard desktop computers. 
Previously, Avid catered to the inde- 

Avid Xpress Pro with Avid Mojo. 



pendent market with Avid Xpress DV, 
which lacked several of the features of 
Avid's higher-end products. Unlike 
Xpress DV, Xpress Pro allows for the 
capture of uncompressed analog 
video (via the optional Mojo device), 
the mixture of different resolution 
media in the same timeline, support 
for 24P DV cameras, and full support 
for generating film negative cut lists. 
Probably the most important aspect 
of Xpress Pro is the program's inter- 



gram opens, to the Media Tool and 
Project Window, all the familiar Avid 
tools and windows are in Xpress Pro. 
However, with the familiarity comes 
the annoyance of some Avid inter- 
face features as well— such as the way 
in which a sequence or clip closes 
whenever the bin window that con- 
tains it is closed. 

As comfortable with Xpress Pro as 
those familiar with Avid will be, editors 
unfamiliar with Avid will be uncom- 
fortable with Xpress Pro. Unlike Final 
Cut Pro or Premiere, Avid has a rela- 
tively strict editing workflow. I like to 
compare editing with an Avid to shoot- 
ing on film— film cameras are not easy 
to learn and operate, they force you to 
think about and plan for what you are 




face and workflow. Avid has been 
making editing software for a long 
time and their knowledge and experi- 
ence shows in the program's polish. 
For instance, Xpress Pro's support for 
editing content shot on film that 
needs to be finished on film is built 
directly into the program, while Final 
Cut Pro uses an external program 
called Cinema Tools that feels clumsi- 
ly integrated with the editing pro- 
gram. Avid's solution feels like a natu- 
ral extension of the whole program. 

For editors familiar with the Avid 
interface and workflow, Xpress Pro 
should be a welcome sight. From the 
Select Project window when the pro- 



shooting. While Final Cut Pro lets you 
drag clips or sequences and drop them 
wherever you want, Avid forces you to 
set in and out points, and to choose the 
type of edit you want to make. Avid 
forces you to log your clips with as 
much data as you can gather for them, 
and its interface requires you to specif- 
ically choose the tool, mode, or com- 
mand for every little part of the editing 
process. Basically, Avid makes you 
think about what you are doing every 
step of the way. 

When working on a big project, 
there are times when an edit is made 
too hastily or unintentionally. The 
strict nature of the Avid interface min- 



April 2004 | The Independent 53 





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imizes the chance of such a mistake. I 
find, much like I am a better filmmak- 
er when I shoot on film, I am a better 
editor when I edit with Avid. 

The Xpress Pro interface can be 
intimidating for the unitiated. Even if 
you have editing experience with other 
editing applications, expect a steep 
learning curve with Xpress Pro. The 
manuals that come with Xpress Pro are 
not bad. but they also don't really 
address the needs of users new to the 
Avid interface. Sam Kauffmann's excel- 
lent book, Avid Editing: A Guide For 
Beginning and Intermediate Users, 2nd 
edition (Focal Press), should be stan- 
dard issue for any new Avid editor. In 
less than 400 pages, Kauffmann 
explains just about everything you 
need to know about editing with an 
Avid. The book was published before 
the release of Xpress Pro, but I found 
the book to be compatible with the 
new program. 

In many ways, Avid put together the 
ideal package of features in Xpress 
Pro, offering just about everything 
one might want in a desktop editing 
application. It is the first Avid editing 
product that offers certain features 
without forcing you to purchase more 
expensive Avid hardware. Among such 
features is an optional breakout box 
called the Mojo that can capture 
uncompressed standard definition 
analog \ideo and play it back to a 
video monitor as you edit. 

The Mojo connects to the host com- 
puter through a standard FireWire 
cable, so it can be used with laptop 
computers as well as desktops. 
Unfortunately, Avid couldn't provide 
me a demo Mojo so I can't describe 
what it's like to use, but from the 
materials I've seen and read, it looks 
like a valuable addition for people who 
need to edit analog video. Without the 
Mojo. Xpress Pro can still import DV 
video captured from a camera or deck 
through a standard FireWire port on 
the computer. I was disappointed, 
though, to discover that Xpress Pro 
doesn't support the DVCPRO50 stan- 



54 The Independent | April 2004 



dard that allows for high quality video 
to be captured through a Firewire port 
like regular DV. 

While I am generally a Mac user, I 
often consider buying a PC as my next 
editing system. While Final Cut Pro 
and Premiere Pro are stationed on 
opposing sides in the Mac/PC battle- 
field, Avid has stayed reassuringly 
neutral. Avid Xpress Pro ships with 
both the Mac and PC versions in the 
box. If you buy it for a Mac and then 
decide to switch to PC (or vice-versa), 
you don't need to worry about buying 
and learning a new editing program. 
This leaves Avid as the only editing 
software maker that develops for both 
Mac and Windows. 

Avid Xpress Pro combines the best 
of both worlds. It is an inexpensive 
software-only editing system similar 
to Avid Xpress DV, but with features 
borrowed from Avid's higher-end edit- 
ing systems. It probably provides the 
best support for editing film projects 
in a software-only editing system 
today. One especially great advantage 
Avid has over other software makers is 
its established place at the high end of 
the post-production market. Avid 
Xpress Pro projects can be transferred 
to Avid Media Composer, Symphony, 
and Pro Tools systems with a higher 
degree of compatibility than other 
editing systems. 

Strictly speaking, Avid Xpress Pro is 
a new product, but it also builds on 
the previously available Avid Xpress 
DV, which is still available for about 
half the price. The new features avail- 
able through Xpress Pro include inter- 
face improvements and minor features 
borrowed from Media Composer, like 
the "focus" toggle on the timeline that 
zooms timeline to where you are. 
Xpress Pro also supports the 24P 
Advanced Pulldown used by the 
Panasonic DVX100 in 24P mode. 

Avid Xpress Pro also comes with a 
nice array of extra software, including 
the impressive Sorenson Squeeze 
Compression Suite— a program that 
makes it easy to produce high quality 



video for the internet. Sorenson is the 
company that creates the compression 
technology used for Quicktime and 
Flash videos on the internet. Squeeze 
includes a special version of that tech- 
nology that will make videos look 
great at half the normal file size. The 
Squeeze Compression Suite costs 
$450 on its own but is included for 
free with Xpress Pro. 

My only major complaint with 
Xpress Pro concerns the process of 
importing and exporting video clips. 
Like all Avid products, Xpress Pro 
encodes its video media with Avid's 
proprietary Merdien technology. 
When somebody exports a Quicktime 
clip from Xpress Pro, the default is to 
leave it compressed with the Meridien 
codec. This means that anybody cre- 
ating content for you in a separate 
application needs to have Avid's 
codecs installed on their system. Also, 
many compositors and designers feel 
that Avid's codecs (the file that 
defines the way a Quicktime or AVI 
file is saved) don't look as good as 
other standard ones. I think they look 
fine, but it is a valid consideration for 
graphics or effects-heavy media. 

At a suggested retail price of $1,699, 
Avid Xpress Pro may be too expensive 
for many independent filmmakers, 
and a lot of the same features can still 
be found in the cheaper Avid Xpress 
DV. For further guidance, Avid's web- 
site (www.avid.com) has a chart that 
compares the features of each product. 

Bottom line— if you need to edit 
film content and generate film cut 
lists, or if you want to capture and edit 
uncompressed analog video with the 
Mojo device, edit 24P video from the 
Panasonic DVX100 camera, or finish 
your project on an Avid finishing sys- 
tem, Xpress Pro will be the Avid prod- 
uct for you, especially if you are 
already familiar with the Avid inter- 
face and workflow. D 

Greg Gilpatrick is a Brooklyn based 
filmmaker and consultant. 







The AIVF Guide to 

Film & Video 
Distributors 

edited by Rania Richardson 

What You'll Find: 

Up-to-date profiles of close to 200 
distributors, supplemented by "how 
to" articles, selected reprints from 
The Independent, and in-depth inter- 
views with over 20 distributors. 
Published to order, ensuring the most 
current information that's available. 




You may already be a reader 

° f ^Independent 

but did you know that it is just 
one of the programs offered by 
AIVF, the Association of 
Independent Video and 
Filmmakers? 

One year membership includes: 
trade discounts on supplies 
and services; discounts on 
workshops and resource 
guides; access to affordable 
health coverage. AIVF offers a 
searchable directory of 
domestic and international films, 
plus a whole lot more 




visit www.aivf.org 



April 2004 | The Independent 55 



Festivals 

By Bo Mehrad 

Listings do not constitute an 
endorsement. We recommend that 
you contact the festival directly 
before sending cassettes, as details 
may change after the magazine goes 
to press. Deadline: 1st of the month 
two months prior to cover date (e.g., 
Sept. 1st for Nov. issue). Include fes- 
tival dates, categories, prizes, entry 
fees, deadlines, formats & contact 
info. Send to: festivals@aivf.org. 



AIVF MEMBERS CAN 

ACCESS AN INTERACTIVE 

FESTIVAL DIRECTORY AT 

WWWJUVF.ORG 



DOMESTIC 

1 REEL FILM FESTIVAL. Sept 3-6. WA. 
Deadline: May 15. Fest is held during 
Seattle's Bumbershoot Arts Festival & wel- 
comes all styles & genres of films up to 30 
min. Over 100 films screened in four days. 
Entries must be under 30 min. & should have 
been completed no earlier than January 1 of 
the prior year. Founded: 1996. Cats: doc, 
short, animation, experimental, music video, 
student, family, children, commericials. 
Formats: 35mm, Beta SR Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Warren Etneredge. 
Curator, 1725 Westlake Ave. N.. Ste 202, 
Seattle, WA 98109; (206) 281-7788; fax: 
281-7799; filmfest@onereel.org; 

www.onereel.org. 

AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL. July 14- 
1 8, FL Deadline: April 9 (features, docs); April 
15 (shorts). Founded: 1997 Cats: Feature, 
Short, doc. Formats: 35mm. Preview on VHS. 
Entry Fee: $30. Contact: Festival, c/o Film 
Life, P.O. Box 688, New York, NY, USA 
10012; (212) 966-2411; fax: 966-2497; 
abff@thefilmlife.com; www.abff.com. 

A TASTE OF ART SHORT FILM AND VIDEO 
FESTIVAL. May 1-9, NY. Deadline: April 15. 
Held at a contemporary art gallery /cafe locat- 
ed in the heart of Tribeca concurrently with 
the Tribeca Film Festival. Works can range 
between 5 to 30 minutes. Founded: 2004. 
Cats: short, any style or genre. Preview on 
DVD. Entry Fee: None. Contact: Festival, 1 47 
Duane St. , New York, NY 10013; 
(212) 964-5493: info@aTasteofArt.com; 
www.aTasteofArtcom. 



BOSTON JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL Nov. 4- 
14, MA. Deadline: May 1; May 15 
(final).Founded: 1989. Cats: feature, experi- 
mental, animation, doc. Formats: Beta SP. 
35mm, 16mm, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $15: $25 (final)-no fees for internation- 
al submissions. Contact: Festival, 1001 
Watertown Street West Newton, MA 02465: 
(617) 244-9899; fax: 244-9894; program 
ming@bjff.org; www.bjff.org. 

BRAINWASH MOVIE FESTIVAL. July / 
August CA. Deadline: May 1: May 10 (Final). 
Annual fest provides the opportunity to show 
"odd & obscure shorts, performance videos, 
works made for TV & out-of-genre efforts." 
Independent shorts & features from across 
the globe. Founded: 1 995. Cats: TV, feature, 
doc, short, animation, experimental, music 
video, any style or genre. Formats: 16mm, 
VHS. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (shorts, 
under 1 3 min.); $30 (final, shorts); $50 (fea- 
tures); $75 (final, features). Contact: Shelby 
Toland, Box 23302. Oakland, CA 94623- 



honorarium awarded. Formats: Beta, DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: 
UCI Human Rights Film Festival, 1200 N. 
Alvarado St., Irvine, CA 90026; (213) 
484-8846; polyesterprince@hotmail.com; 
www.polyesterprince.com. 

DAHLONEGA INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, Sept 2- 
5, GA. Deadline: May 1 5. Festival offers 
underexposed film & videomakers in emerg- 
ing digital formats a higher profile venue. 
Cats: 1 5 cats (see website). Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, DV, DigiBeta DVD, Beta, Mini DV. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $10-$50. 
Contact: Barry Norman, Executive Director, 
661 Wndcroft Circle, Acworth, GA 30101; 
(404) 885-441 0; fax: 885-0700; info@diff.tv; 
www.diff.tv. 

FILM FEST NEW HAVEN. Sept 16-19, CT. 
Deadline: May 1 ; June 1 (final). Film Fest New 
Haven is committed to supporting the creativ- 
ity of independent filmmakers. Founded: 
1996. Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, 



Hamptons Rising 



It may seem difficult when recovering from 
the depths of winter to think about October, 
but the Hamptons Film Festival is certainly 
something to look forward to. The five-day 
event takes place on the East End of Long 
Island. Founded twelve years ago to celebrate American independent film, the 
slate can be eclectic— from Hollywood premieres (Jon Favreau's Elf premiered in 
the 2003 festival), to true-to-the-core indies like last year's Golden Starfish win- 
ner Screen Door Jesus. This year's fest boasts a large collection of world cinema 
and fresh films focused on challenging a legacy of war and conflict See listing. 



0302; (415) 273-1545; shelby@brain- 
washm.com; www.brain washm.com. 

CI N EVEGAS I NT'L Fl LM FESTIVAL. June 1 1 - 
1 9, NV. Deadline: April 9. Cats: feature, doc, 
short, student Formats: 35mm. Preview on 
VHS. Contact: Festival, 2290 Corporate 
Circle, 1st floor, Henderson, NV 89074: 
702.992.7979; fax: (702) 898-51 91 ; info-cin 
evegas@cinevegas.com; www.cinevegas.com. 

CITY OF IRVINE HUMAN RIGHTS FILM 
FESTIVAL. Oct. CA. Deadline: May 1 . Annual 
fest is seeking films dealing with human 
rights or international relations issues. Cats: 
feature, doc, short, any style or genre. Awards: 



experimental. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 
Beta SP. DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
$25/$30; $30/$40 (final). Contact: Nina 
Adams, Artistic Director, Box 9644, New 
Haven, CT 06536; (203) 776-6789; fax: 776- 
4260; info@filmfestorg; www.filmfestorg. 

HAMPTONS INT'L FILM FESTIVAL. Oct 20- 
24, NY. Deadline: May 14 (shorts); June 4 
(final shorts); May 1 4 (feature/doc) June 1 8 
(final feature/doc). Annual fest for 
features.shorts & documentaries created to 
provide a forum for filmmakers around the 
world who express an independent vision. 
Founded: 1993. Cats: feature, short, doc, 
world cinema films of conflict & resolution, 



56 The Independent | April 2004 



student, youth media, family, children. 
Formats: 35mm, Beta SP, DigiBeta. Preview 
on VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: shorts $35/$50; 
features, docs $50/$75. Contact: HIFF, 59 
Franklin St. Ste 208, New York, NY 10013; 
(212) 431-6292; fax: 431-5440; program- 
ming@hamptonsfilmfest.org; www.hamp 
tonsfilmfest.org. 

IFP MARKET, Sept. 19-24, NY. Deadline: May 
1 0: narrative scripts, works-in-progress (doc 
and narrative), shorts, docs; May 28 (final): 
shorts, docs, works-in-progress. Annual event 
is the longest-running U.S. market devoted to 
new, emerging film talent. Market filmmakers 
receive access to these industry executives 
via targeted networking meetings, pitch ses- 
sions, screenings, and more. Cats: feature, 
doc, work-in-progress, short, script. Awards: 
More than $150,000 in cash and prizes 
awarded to emerging artists, including two 
$10,000 Gordon Parks Awards for Emerging 
African-American filmmakers. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta, DigiBeta, . Preview on 
VHS or DVD. Entry Fee: $50 application fee; 
Registration fees (paid on acceptance only): 
$200 - $450. Contact: Wendy Sax, 1 04 West 
29 St., 12 ft, New York, NY 10001; (212) 
465-8200 x203 (Market), x206 (No 
Borders); fax: 465-8525; marketinfo@ifp.org; 
www.ifp.org. 

INT'L BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL, Nov. 20- 
24, NY, CA. Deadline: May 15. Non competi- 
tive fest of films about, inspired by or related 
(even vaguely) to Buddhist cultures, places, 
personalities, issues & experience. Cats: fea- 
ture, doc, short, animation, experimental, youth 
media, children. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 
video, digital. Preview on VHS (PAL or NTSC), 
DVD. Entry Fee: $25 (shorts); $45 (features). 
Contact: Festival, P.O. Box 961 7, Berkeley, CA 
94709; (510) 985-1805; fax: 985-0185; 
cfe@ibff.org; www.ibff.org. 

LA CINEMA FE - LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA 
FESTIVAL OF NEW YORK, July 7-14, NY. 

Deadline: April 30. Fest's mission is to pro- 
mote a wider and deeper understanding of 
the roots, life and diverse cultures of the 
Spanish and Portuguese speaking communi- 
ties in Latin America, the United States, Spain 
and Portugal. Cats: feature, doc, short. 
Formats: 35mm, Beta. Entry Fee: None. 
Contact: Festival, 90 Convent Ave., Ste. 42, 
New York, New York 10027; (212) 281- 
5786; lacinemafe@yahoo.com; www.lacine- 
mafe.org. 

LESBIAN LOOKS, Sept./Oct, AZ. Deadline: 



May 15. Fest seeks work of all lengths. Fee 
paid for all works screened. Incl. synopsis, 
brief artist bio & electronic still(s) w/ entry. 
Founded: 1993. Cats: short, doc, feature, 
experimental, any style or genre. Formats: 
1/2", DVD. Preview on VHS (NTSC only). 
Entry Fee: $10. Contact: Beverly Seckinger, 
Media Arts, Harvill 226, U. of Arizona, Tucson, 
AZ 8572 1 ; (520) 62 1 - 1 239; fax: (520) 62 1 - 
9662; bsecking@u.arizona.edu; w3.arizona 
/edu/~lgbcom. 

LOS ANGELES LATINO INTERNATIONAL 
FILM FESTIVAL, July 16-25, CA. Deadline: 
April 15. A competitive fest, LALIFF estab- 
lishes a platform to accomplish many goals, 
the most important of which is giving film- 
makers an opportunity to meet potential dis- 
tributors or other prominent members of the 
industry, network with studios and their writ- 
ing programs or script lab. Founded: 1997. 
Cats: feature, doc, short, animation. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, 3/4" (shorts & docs), 1/2" 
(shorts & docs), Beta (shorts & docs), 
DigiBeta, Beta, 1/2". Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $20 (features); $10 (Docs and shorts). 
Contact: Marlene Dermer, 6777 Hollywood 
Blvd., Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90028; 
(323) 469-9066; fax: 469-9067; mder 
mer@earthlink.net; www.latinofilm.org. 

MAINE INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 9-18, ME. 
Deadline: April 30. A leading New England 
regional film fest w/ an exceptional emphasis 
on int'l productions. Festival seeks features & 
shorts "shot in Maine or w/ a significant 
Maine focus." Founded: 1998. Cats: Feature, 
Short, doc. Awards: Audience Award (Best 
Feature). Formats: 35mm, 3/4", Beta SP, 
16mm, S-VHS, 1/2", Beta, DigiBeta, DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: $35; $40 (final). 
Contact: MIFF, 10 Railroad Sq., Waterville, ME 
04901; (207) 861-8138; fax: 872-5502; 
info@miff.org; www.miff.org. 

NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL, June 16-20, 
MA. Deadline: April 16 (film); March 19 
(screenplay competition). Formats: 35mm, 
Video, Beta SP, DVD. Preview on VHS. Entry 
Fee: $40 (features); $25 (shorts, 35 min. or 
less); $15 (5 min or less). Contact: 1633 
Broadway, Ste. 14-334, New York, NY 
10019; (212) 708-1278; ackfest@aol.com; 
www.nantucketfilmfestival.org. 

NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL, Oct. 7-14, 
LA. Deadline: May 9; June 13 (final). Annual 
fest features premieres, retros, discussions & 
galas. Entries of all lengths/ genres, incl. 
music videos welcome. Founded: 1990. Cats: 



Any style/genre, Anim., Doc, Experimental, 
Short, Feature, Student, Music Video. Awards 
based on jury selection. Formats: 16mm, 1/2", 
35mm (by invite only), Beta, 35mm, DVD. 
Preview on VHS. Fee: $35; $45 (final). 
Contact: NOFF/Competitive Division, 843 
Carodelet Street, #1, New Orleans, LA 
70130; (504) 523-5271; fax: (208) 975- 
3478; incompetition@neworleansfilm 

fest.com; www.newor leansfilmfest.com. 

NEXTFRAME: UFVA'S TOURING FESTIVAI 
OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FILM & 
VIDEO, Oct., PA. Deadline: April 30; May 31 
(final). All entries must have been created by 
students enrolled in a college, univ., or gradu- 
ate school at time of prod. & should have 
been completed no earlier than May of previ- 
ous 2 yrs. Founded: 1993. Cats: Doc, 
Experimental, Animation, Feature. Formats: 
1 6mm, Beta SP (NTSC), Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS (PAL/SECAM okay for preview only), 
DVD. Entry Fee: $25; $20 (UFVA members). 
Free for int'l entries. Contact: Festival, Dept. 
Film & Media Arts, Temple University 01 1-00, 
Philadelphia, PA 19122; (215) 923-3532; 
fax: 204-6740; nextfest@temple.edu; 
www.temple.edu/nextframe. 

OUTNOW: KANSAS CITY GAY AND 
LESBIAN FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, June 
25-July 8, MO. Deadline: March 20; April 16 
(final). Largest LGBT film fest in the Midwest 
accepts films/videos of all types and lengths. 
Cats: feature, doc, short, any style or genre. 
Preview on VHS, DVD. Entry Fee: Shorts: 
$15, $25 (final); features: $25, $35 (final). 
Contact: Festival, c/o LGCC-KC,, 207 
Westport Rd Ste 212, Kansas City, MO 
64111; Email lisaevans@kcgayfilmfest.org; 
www.kcgayfilmfest.org. 

PHILADELPHIA INT'L GAY & LESBIAN FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 1 5-27, PA. Deadline: April 30. 
Competitive fest screening int'l features, doc- 
umentaries, & shorts, w/ cash prizes for both 
jury & audience awards. Cats: feature, short, 
doc, children. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: No 
Entry Fee; Send media kit & screener.. 
Contact: Festival, Philadelphia Film Society, 
234 Market St., 4th Fir., Philadelphia, PA 
19106; (215)733-0608 ext. 249; fax: (215) 
733-0668; email rmurray@phillyfests.com; 
www.phillyfests.com. 

RESFEST DIGITAL FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. - 
Dec, CA, DC, IL, NY. Deadline: April 16; May 
1 4 (final). Annual nat'l/int'l touring fest seeks 
short films/videos exploring the dynamic 
interplay of film, art, music & design. The Fest 



April 2004 | The Independent 57 



SURVIVAL 

ENTERTAINMENT 

MOTTO: 



INSURANCE 



D.R. REIFF 
& ASSOCIATES 



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showcases the best of the year's shorts, fea- 
tures, music videos, & animation along w/ 
screenings, live music events, parties, panel 
discussions, & tech demos. The underlying 
guideline for submissions is Innovation. Cats: 
Doc, Experimental, Feature, Animation, music 
video, short. Entry Fee: $20 (early), $25 
(final). Contact: Festival, 601 West 26th 
Street, Suite 1150, New York, NY 10001; 
filmmaker@resfest.com; www.resfest.com. 

RHODE ISLAND INT'L FILM FESTIVAL. Aug. 
10-15, Rl. Deadline: May 15, June 1 (final). 
Fest takes place in historic Providence, Rl & 
has become a showcase for int'l independent 
filmmakers & their work. Fest is a qualifying 
fest in the Short Film category w/ the 
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. 
Founded: 1997. Cats: feature, doc, short, ani- 
mation, experimental, student, youth media, 
family, children. Formats: 16mm, 35mm, Beta 
SP S-VHS, 1/2", DV, DVD. Preview on VHS, 
DVD. Entry Fee: $40. Contact: George T. 
Marshall, Box 162, Newport, Rl 02840; (401) 
861-4445; fax: 847-7590; flicksart@aol.com; 
www.film-festival.org. 

ROXBURY FILM FESTIVAL. Aug. 18-22. 
Deadline: April 30; May 31 (final). Fest's goal 
is to "celebrate works written, produced, & 
directed by filmmakers of color." Founded: 
1998. Cats: feature, doc, short, animation, 
experimental. Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 1/2", 
Beta SP, DigiBeta. Entry Fee: $20 student; 
$30 independent filmmaker; $40 industry; 
$25 late fee. Contact: c/o ACT Roxbury 
Consortium, 2201 R. Washington St., Ste. 
300, Roxbury, MA 02 1 1 9; (6 1 7) 54 1 -3900 x. 
222; fax: 541-4900; csilva@madison 
park.org; www.roxburyfilmfestival.com. 

SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL. October 
13-17, CA. Deadline: April 1 5; May 30 (final). 
Annual competitive fest presented by the 
Asian American Journalists Association of 
San Diego seeks short-to feature-length nar- 
ratives, docs, experimental, animation & 
mixed-genre works made by or about Asian & 
Pacific Americans. Entry form avail, from web- 
site. Cats: feature, doc, experimental, anima- 
tion, mixed genre works, short. Formats: 
16mm, 35mm. Beta SP. Preview on VHS 
(NTSC only). Entry Fee: $20: $30 (final). 
Contact: SDAFF, 11171 Camino Ruiz #57, 
San Diego. CA 92126: (858) 699-2717; 
entries@sdaff.org; www.sdaff.org. 

STONY BROOK FILM FESTIVAL. July 21 - 

31, NY. Deadline: May 1. Eleven days, 50 
screenings ranging from most exciting for- 



eign, art & popular films to world & US pre- 
mieres of best independent cinema from the 
U.S. & abroad. Cats: Feature, Short, Doc, 
Animation. Formats: 35mm, 16mm. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: $20 (shorts up to 30 
mm.): $40 (features over 30 min.). Contact: 
Patrick Kelly, Stellar Arts Center, Stony Brook 
University, Rm 2032, Stony Brook, NY 1 1 794 
(631) 632-7234; fax: (631) 632-7354 
filmfestival@stonybrookfilmfestival.com 
www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com. 

VISIONFEST. June 23-27, NY. Deadline: April 
20: March 31 (Screenplays). Formally Guerilla 
Film and Video Festival. Fest's mission is to 
spotlighting emerging talent and exclusively 
promoting domestic filmmaking. Founded: 
2001. Cats: feature, doc, short, experimental, 
any style or genre;, no music videos. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm, Beta, DigiBeta, DV. 1/2". 
Preview on VHS, DVD. Entry Fee: $35 
(shorts); $40 (features). Contact: Bruno 
Derlin. PO Box 280223, Brooklyn, NY 
11228; (718) 837-5736; domanivision 
@aol.com: www.domanivi sion.org. 

ZEITGEIST INT'L FILM FESTIVAL. June 1 4 / 
July 1 2 / Aug. 9, CA. Deadline: April 30. ZIFF 

is an irreverent film/video fest, held in San 
Francisco in the backyard of the Zeitgeist Bar 
(seats 300). Works can be in any 
category/genre "that can hold the attention of 
the average bar patron". Cats: short (1 5 min or 
less). Formats: 1 6mm, 1 /2", DV, DVD. Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: None. Contact: B Berzins, 
199 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94103; 
(415) 786-9967: ikooking® yahoo.com; 
www.overcookedcinema.com. 

INTERNATIONAL 

ANTIMATTER: FESTIVAL OF UNDER- 
GROUND SHORT FILM & VIDEO Sept. 17- 
25, Canada Deadline: April 1 6; May 31 (final). 
Films must be under 30 min. & produced w/in 
last two years. Founded: 1998. Cats: any 
style or genre, short. Formats: 1/2", 16mm, 
DVD, Mini-DV, Super 8. Preview on VHS. 
DVD. Entry Fee: $10; $15 (final). Contact: 
Todd Eacrett, Director, 1 322 Broad St, Studio 
F, Victoria. B.C., Canada V8W-2A9; (250) 
385-3327; fax: 385-3327; rogueart@island- 
net.com; www.antimatter.ws. 

AVIGNON FILM FESTIVAL-FRANCE June 
22-27, France. Deadline: May 1. Celebrates 
European & American independent film w/ 
new films, retros, roundtables on pertinent 
issues, interviews w/ filmmakers & daily 
receptions. Non-French-language films must 



58 The Independent | April 2004 



be subtitled in French. Founded: 1984. Cats: 
Feature, Doc, Short. Awards: Jury awards for 
features, shorts, screenplay & cinematogra- 
phy. Formats: 35mm, Beta SR Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: $25. Contact: Jerome Henry 
Rudes, 1 0, montee de la Tour, , Villeneuve-les- 
Avignon, France 30400; 011 33 4 90 25 93 
23; fax: 90 25 93 24; jhr2001@aol.com; 
www.avignonfilmfest.com. 

EDINBURGH INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, August 
18-29, Scotland. Deadline: April 20. Fest of 
discovery, celebration of cinema, centre of 
debate, & catalyst for new directors & first 
films. Showcases about 1 10 new features & 
1 20 new shorts each yr; shows live action & 
animated shorts before every film in every 
section. Founded: 1947. Cats: Feature, Short, 
Animation, Experimental, doc. Formats: 
70mm, 35mm, 16mm, Beta SP. Preview on 
VHS. Entry Fee: £10-£80. Contact: 
Shane Danielsen, Director, Filmhouse, 88 
Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ, Scotland, 
UK; 44 131 228 4051; fax: 229 5501; 
info@edfilmfest.org.uk; www.edfilmfest.org.uk. 

HUNGARIAN MULTICULTURAL CENTER 
FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL, July 18-23, 
Hungary. Deadline: April 20. Annual fest 
accepts film is dedicated to promote cultural 
expansion of the visual arts between Hungary 
& the United States. Work must be under 30 
min. in length & been completed in past 2 
years. Cats: Animation, Feature, Short, Doc. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview 
on VHS (NTSC), incl. SASE for return. Entry 
Fee: US$35. Contact: Hungarian Multicultural 
Center, Inc., PO Box 141374, Dallas, TX, US 
75214; (972) 225-8053; fax: (972) 308- 
8191; bszechy@ yahoo.com; http://hungar 
ian-multicultural center.com. 

INT'L FILM FESTIVAL CINEMA JOVE, June 
14-21, Spain. Deadline: April 15. Formats: 
35mm, 16mm. Preview on VHS. Entry Fee: 
none. Contact: Rafael Maluenda, Festival 
Director, Calle Jeronimo de Monsoriu,19 , 
Valencia, Spain 46022 ; 01 1 34 96 331 10 
47; fax: 331 08 05; cinemajove@ivaj.gva.es; 
www.gva.es/cinemajove/. 

JERUSALEM INT'L FILM FESTIVAL, July 8- 
17, Israel. Deadline: April 18. Annual fest will 
screen over 1 75 films in various cats. Must be 
Israeli premieres. Founded: 1984. Cats: 
Feature, Short, Retro, Jewish, Doc, Exp. 
Formats: 35mm, 16mm, 3/4", 1/2". Preview 
on VHS. Entry Fee: none. Contact: Lia van 
Leer, Director, Box 8561, Derech Hebron, 
Jerusalem, Israel 91083; 011 9722 565 



4333; fax: 565 4333; festival@jer-clin.org.il; 
www.jff.org.il. 

NICKEL INDEPENDENT FILM & VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, June 23-27, Canada. Deadline: 
March 15; May 1 (final). The fest dubs itself 
as a "fest created by filmmakers for filmmak- 
ers." In addition to screenings of films & 
videos, the fest stages actor's workshops, Q & 
A periods w/ filmmakers, showcases local 
theatre pieces & features local music & read- 
ings between screenings. Founded: 2001. 
Cats: feat., doc, short, music video, any 
style/genre. Formats: Beta SP, 16mm, 1/2". 
Preview on VHS (NTSC), DVD. Fee: shorts 
$10, features $20 Contact: Roger Maunder, 
118 Gower St., St. Johns, Newfoundland, 
Canada; (709) 722-3456; nickelfestival 
@yahoo.ca; www.nickelfestival.com. 

PLANET FOCUS: TORONTO ENVIRON- 
MENTAL FILM FESTIVAL, Sept. 28-Oct 3, 
Canada. Deadline: April 1 ; May 3. Fest pays 
special consideration to works that push the 
boundaries of the accepted notions of 'envi- 
ronment'; works that present cultural per- 
spectives that are under-represented in 
Canada & works that will have their world or 
Canadian premiere at fest. Cats: any style or 
genre. Entry Fee: $15; $20 (final). Contact: 
Festival, 517 College Street, Suite 405, 
Toronto, ON, Canada M6G 4A2; (416) 531- 
1769; info@planetinfocus.org; www.planet 
infocus.org. 

ST. JOHN'S INT'L WOMEN'S FILM & VIDEO 
FESTIVAL, October 20-24, Canada. Deadline: 
May 31. Festival seeks films & videos made 
by women. Founded: 1989. Cats: 
Experimental, Animation, Feature, Doc. 
Awards: Non-competitive. Formats: 35mm, 
16mm, Beta. VHS. Entry Fee: $15. Contact: 
Program Committee, PO Box 984, St. John's, 
Newfoundland, Canada A1C 5M3; (709) 
754-3141; fax: 754-3143; womensfilm 
fest@nfld.net; www.womensfilmfestival.com. 

VILA DO CONDE INT'L SHORT FILM 
FESTIVAL, July 3-11, Portugal. Deadline: April 
1 6th (for int'l competition), or May 1 7th (for 
the nat'l). Annual fest accepts films under 60 
min. made in the last 2 years. Cats: Short, 
doc, animation, any style/genre. Great Prize in 
each category; Formats: 1 6mm, 35mm, Beta 
SP. Preview on VHS. No fees. Contact: Mario 
Micaelo, Auditorio Municipal, Praca da 
Republica, Vila do Conde, Portugal 4480-71 5 
; 01 1 351 252 646 516; fax: 351 252 248 
416; festival@curtasmetragens.pt; www.cur 
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April 2004 | The Independent 59 



Films/Tapes 
Wanted 

By Jessica McDowell 

Noncommercial notices and screening 
opportunities are listed free of charge 
as space permits. Commercial notices 
are billed at classified rates. The 
Independent reserves the right to edit 
for length and makes no guarantees 
about duration of listing. Limit submis- 
sions to 60 words and indicate how 
long your information will be current 
Listings must be submitted to 
notices@aivf.org by the first of the 
month two months prior to cover date 
(e.g., July 1 for Sept issue). Listings do 
not constitute an endorsement by The 
Independent or AIVF. We try to be as 
current and accurate as possible, but 
nevertheless: double-check details 
before sending. 

DISTRIBUTION 

AQUARIUS HEALTH CARE VIDEOS, the 

leader of documentary films that focus on 
health & powerful life challenging situations 
is seeking additional programs to add to our 
award winning collection. Our strong, target- 
ed marketing program & film festivals will 
help increase awareness for you. We look 
forward to previewing your film. Please send 
your film to Aquarius Health Care Videos, 1 8 
North Main Street Sherborn, MA 01770. 
(888) 440-2963. 

ARTHOUSE FILMS & DOCS WANTED for 
domestic & international distribution. For con- 
sideration, please send tape to: Passion 

River, Greene Street Film Center, 9 
Desbrosses St, 2nd Fl, New York, NY 1 001 3. 
(212) 966-5877, www.PassionRiver.com. 

CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL distributes videos 
for social change, including such collections 
as the Library of African Cinema and African 
American Perspectives. 500 Third Street 
Suite 505, San Francisco, CA 941 10; phone: 
415-284-7800: fax: 415-284-7801; con 
tact@newsreel.org, www. newsreel.org. 

THE CINEMA GUILD, leading film/ 
video/multimedia distributor, seeks new doc, 
fiction, educational & animation programs for 
distribution. Send videocassettes or discs for 
evaluation to: The Cinema Guild. 130 Madison 
Ave., 2nd fl.. New York, NY 1 001 6; (212) 685- 
6242: gcrowdus@cinemaguild.com. Ask for 
our Distribution Services brochure. 



EDUCATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR SEEKS 
VIDEOS on guidance issues such as vio- 
lence, drug prevention, mentoring, children's 
health & parenting for exclusive distribution. 
Our marketing gives unequaled results! Call 
Sally Germain at The Bureau for At-Risk 
Youth: (800) 99-YOUTH x. 2 1 0. 

FANLIGHT PRODUCTIONS 20+ years as an 
industry leader! Join more than 100 award- 
winning film & video producers. Send us your 
new works on healthcare, mental health, 
aging, disabilities, and related issues. (800) 
937-41 13; www.fanlight.com. 

INDIE-UNDERGROUND seeks offbeat edgy 
features and docs for foreign/domestic distri- 
bution. Gross % on Internet sales. Established 
track record, fast response. Visit our submis- 
sions page at www.lndie-Underground.com; 
send us your show. 

NEW DAY FILMS seeks energetic independ- 
ent film and video makers with social issue 
docs for distribution to non-theatrical 
markets. If you want to maximize your 
audience while working within a remarkable 
community of activist filmmakers. New Day is 



PASSION RIVER: Arthouse films & docs want- 
ed for domestic & international distribution. For 
consideration, please send tape to: Passion 
River, GreeneStreet Film Center, 9 Desbrosses 
St 2nd Fl, New York, NY 10013. (212) 966- 
5877, www.PassionRiver.com. 

REINVENTIONS is now accepting films of any 
genre that depict a transformation for our film 
festival and other programs. Reinventions is a 
newly formed not-for-profit film studio dedicat- 
ed to presenting provocative stories of non-fic- 
tional and fictional transformation. For further 
info, www.Relnventions.org. To submit work visit 
www.Relnventions.org/howtosub mitfilm.html. 

MICROCINEMAS • 
SCREENING 

BASEMENT FILMS of Albuquerque, NM, is a 
mobile, volunteer-run venue for experimental, 
underground & other under-represented forms 
of small-gauge (8mm, 16mm) film & video 
making. To screen your film work with us, send 
a VHS preview tape with a SAS.E & any writ- 
ten material about it and yourself to BASE- 
MENT FILMS. P.O. Box 7669, ALBQ, NM 
871 94. We pride ourselves on screening work 



ml 


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Image Union 

Since 1 978, Chicago-based public 
TV station WTTW has been hosting 
what is now considered the longest 
running independent film and video 


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showcase in America. The Emmy 
Award-winning series, Image Union, is a thirty-minute program showcasing 
"everything from animation and documentaries to narratives and experimen- 
tal films," which the Chicago Tribune called "some of the most vibrant work 
in the field." The program accepts submissions on a year round basis. Check 
out www.wttw.com/imageunion for more information on how to submit and 
when to tune in. 



the perfect home for your film. New Day is 
committed to promoting diversity within our 
membership and the media we represent. 
Explore our catalog at www.newday.com, 
then contact Heidi Emberling at join@new 
day.com or (650) 347-5123. 

NOODLEHEAD NETWORK distributes only 
youth-produced videos. Guaranteed expo- 
sure to tens of thousands, plus royalties to 
sustain your program. Educational videos in 
all subjects and 10+ years experience. 1 
(800) 639-5680. www.noodlehead.com. 



in unique locations, so make a suggestion. 
(505) 842-9977, www.basementfilms.org. 

CAFE NUBA m Denver, Colorado is a monthly 
arts and social change venue featuring indie 
film and video by filmmakers of color, spoken 
word, performance art, and political prose. 
Organizers are cultural activists, filmmakers 
and educators seeking to promote diverse 
images of urban culture and creativity. Non- 
mainstream, guerrilla films, queer, and hip-hop 
creations desired. Seeking 5-to-45 min films, 
any genre. For info www.panafncanarts.org or 



60 The Independent | April 2004 



BluBlakwomyn@yahoo.com; 303-832-3 1 90. 
Submit work, VHS/DVD (NTSC) with contact 
info and support materials (no entry fee) to Pan 
African Arts Society, 700 E. 24th Ave. Ste 9, 
Denver, CO 80205. 

CAPE COD FILM SOCIETY SCREENING 
SERIES of Brewester, MA, seeks experimen- 
tal, documentary & fiction films & videos. Films 
can be any length, genre or style, but we are 
particularly interested in works by filmmakers 
willing to present in person on Cape Cod. We 
look for works which are innovative and 
thought-provoking— creatively, politically, and/ 
or intellectually - to facilitate audience discus- 
sion. Some travel assistance may be available 
as well as an honorarium for works screened. 
Please send work on VHS, DVD, or mini-DV w/ 
filmmaker bio, publicity materials (if available), 
and a statement or synopsis. Also indicate your 
availability to appear with your work for Q&A. 
Include SASE. Rebecca M. Alvin, Cape Cod 
Film Society Screening Series, PO Box 1 727, 
Brewster, MA 02631-7727 For more info: 
capecodfilm@yahoo.com or 1 -866-235-8397 

CINEMARENO is a nonprofit film society fea- 
turing monthly screenings showcasing inde- 
pendent films & videos. Focusing on new, 
undistributed works. Formats: 1 6mm, Beta-SP, 
Mini-DV. Preview on VHS or DVD. Entry fee: 
$20; fee waived for AIVF members. Entry form 
& instructions at www.cinemareno.org. Contact: 
Cinemareno, PO Box 5372, Reno, NV 89513; 
cinemareno@excite.com. 

DREAM SERIES: seeks challenging social- 
issue documentaries that promote frank com- 
munity discussions about issues of racial prej- 
udice and social injustice that fall under the 
Martin Luther King, Jr., legacy. Selected works 
are screened for this ongoing monthly series at 
the MLK National Historic Site in Atlanta, GA, 
and promoted, listed, and reviewed in local 
print. Formats: VHS, Beta. Send non returnable 
VHS screeners to Mark A. Smith/ DREAM, 
IMAGE Film & Video Center, 75 Bennett St. 
NW, Suite N-1, Atlanta, GA 30309; 
mark@imagefv.org. 

ECHO PARK FILM CENTER microcinema 
seeking submissions to screen for weekly 
cinema events. We screen documentary, ani- 
mation, experimental, and short narrative films 
& videos. We do not screen feature length. 
Filmmakers recieve an honorarium. Echo Park 
Film Center, 1200 N.AIvarado St, LA, CA, 
90026; (213) 484-8846; polyesterprince® 
hotmail.com; www.echoparkfilmcenter.org. 



FLICKER NYC is a bi-monthly show of new 
Super 8 and 16mm films by local filmmakers 
held at the Knitting Factory. Each show fea- 
tures new films, vintage Super 8 reels, home- 
made cookies, raffles for Super 8 stock, T- 
shirts, and Flicker Super 8 guides. Submissions 
are ongoing and there is no submission fee. 
www.flickernyc.com. 

FREIGHT FILM SALON seeks submissions for 
its Monday Night Shorts showcase series. 
Work can be any genre, 20 min. or fewer; must 
be on VHS or DVD. Will screen on 6' screen, 2 
plasma screens & four monitors. Email 
FreightFilmSalon@yahoo.com for additional 
info, or visit www.FreightNYC.com. 

LESBIAN LOOKS of Tucson, AZ, seeks narra- 
tive, doc, experimental & mixed-genre of all 
lengths for 2004 season. DVD & VHS NTSC 
only.Fee paid for all works screened. Deadline: 
June 1, 2004. Send VHS previewtape, brief 
synopsis, artist bio & electronic stills to Beverly 
Seckinger, Media Arts, Harvill 226, University of 
Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, bsecking@u.ari 
zona.edu; http://w3.arizona.edu/~lgbcom. 

MICROCINEMA'S INDEPENDENT EXPO- 
SURE, a monthly microcinema screening pro- 
gramof int'l short films, videos & digital works, 
seeking short video, film &digital media sub- 
missions of 15 min. or fewer on an ongoing 
basis for themonthly screening program. Artists 
qualify for a nonexclusive distributiondeal, incl. 
additional license fees for int'l offline & online 
sales. Looking for short narrative, alternative, 
humorous, dramatic, erotic, animation, etc. 
Submit VHS (NTSC/PAL) or DVD/Mini-DV 
(NTSC only) clearly labeled w/name,title, 
length, phone # & any support materials, incl. 
photos. Submissions will not be returned. 
Contact: Joel S. Bachar, Microcinema 
International, 531 Utah St, San Francisco, CA 
94110; info@microcinema.com; 415-864- 
0660, www.microcinema.com. 

NEW FILMMAKERS at New York's Anthology 
Film Archives seeks submissions for weekly 
screening series. No entry fee or form. Send a 
VHS copy of your film or video w/ a brief syn- 
opsis to David Maquiling, New Filmmakers, 
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, 
NY, NY 10009. www.newfilmmakers.com. 

NEWFILMMAKERS HOWL at New York's 
Pioneer Theatre seeks submissions for its 
weekly screening series. Form available on 
website; $25 submission fee. Send a VHS 
copy of your film or video with form/fee to 
Thomas Bannister, NewFilmmakers, PO Box 



4956, New York, NY 10185. For more info, 
www.newfilmmakers.com. 

THE REVIVAL HOUSE a sixty-seat independ- 
ent cinema located in Westerly, Rhode Island 
is seeking submissions for its ongoing film 
program. The venue is in a building on the 
National Register of Historic Places and is 
interested in showcasing the best cinema 
available. Shorts, features, independents & 
docs. We pay too! Formats are VHS, 3/4" & 
DVD. For more information visit our website: 
www.revivalhouse.net. 

SHOW & TELL, a film, video & music event that 
provides a venue to show the works and tal- 
ents in an unconventional location. Seeking 1 
to 20-minute film/videos on VHS. 
(Submissions are non-returnable) SHOW & 
TELL, c/o Black Robb 535 Havemeyer Ave 
#12H, New York, NY 10473; (718) 409- 
1 691 ; blackrobb@netzero.net. 

TIMEBASE, in Kanses City seeks innovative 
short films, videos, installations & web-based 
projects. No entry fee. Rolling deadline. Send 
VHS, DVD, or CD-Rom: Timebase, 5100 
Rockhill Rd Haag 202, KC MO 641 10 (816) 
235-1 708; www.time-base.org. 

TINY PICTURE CLUB seeks Super-8 films for 
quarterly, theme-based programs. Films will 
screen on Super 8 & be accompanied by live 
music. Tiny Picture Club is especially interested 
in work from the Portland area. Send VHS tape 
to: Tiny Picture Club, 109 NE Holland st. 
Portland, OR 97211; www.tinypictureclub.org. 

VIDEOTHEATRE, NYC is New York's never- 
ending DV festival! Currently seeking original 
films on DV formats. Monthly deadlines. Year- 
round submission. Weekly programming in two 
AC theaters located on Manhattan's downtown 
theater row. VideoTheatreNYC ©aol.com; 
www.videotheatrenyc.com. 

GALLERIES • 
EXHIBITIONS 

ARC GALLERY reviewing videos for Media 
Room. View Media Room Prospectus at 
www.arcgallery.org or send SASE for Media 
Room prospectus to: ARC Gallery, 734 N. 
Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL or call (312) 733- 
2787 for info W-S 1 2-6, Sun 1 2-4. 

EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY HISTORIC 
SITE in PA seeks artists for exhibition at the 
site. Some funding avail, for media arts. 
Proposals are reviewed each fall. See website 



April 2004 | The Independent 61 



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State.org. or visit www.easternstate.org. 

TOURING PROGRAMS 

SOUTHERN CIRCUIT: a tour of 6 artists who 
travel to 6 sites in the Southeast, now 
accepting applications from film/video 
artists. Artists asked to submit application 
form & VHS. 3/4", Beta or 16mm film pro- 
gram of 45 min. to 2 hrs (can be cued for a 
30 mm. section forjudging purposes) in addi- 
tion to resume, any press packet materials & 
$20 entry fee. Performance & installation art 
not accepted, nor any works-in-progress. 
Note: Some circuit sites are limited to VHS 
projection. After pre-screening 4. Contact: 
South Carolina Arts Commission, Attn: Susan 
Leonard, Media Arts Center, 1800 Gervais 
St., Columbia, SC 29201: (803) 734-8696; 
fax: 734-8526; sleonard® arts.state.scus; 
www.southcarolinaarts.com. 

THE HIP HOP FILM FEST TOUR is an ongo- 
ing event hitting major cities & cultural centers 
on a global level. Organizers are indie filmmak- 
ers looking to share their visual documents of 
the vibrant Hip-Hop culture and connect with 
other mediamakers. Deadline: Ongoing, visit 
www.hiphopfilmfestcom: lnfo@HipHop 

FilmFestcom. or call 41 5 225-1 583. 

BROADCASTS • 
CABLECASTS 

BROOKDALE TELEVISION is a progressive 
educational access channel in Momouth 
County, NJ, reaching over 79,000 households 
at the Jersey shore. We are currently seeking 
independent works for consideration for cable- 
cast All lengths and genres considered. 
Nonexclusive rights release upon acceptance, 
no payment but promotional and contact infor- 
mation will be provided on air and through our 
office. VHS for preview, BetaSP. MiniDV, SVHS. 
and DVD accepted for Cablecast Contact 
Roger Conant BTV. Brookdale Community 
College, 765 Newman Springs Road, Atec Rm. 
112, Lincroft NJ 07738; (732) 224-2467; 
rconant@brookdalecc.edu. 

DUTV is a progressive, nonprofit access chan- 
nel in Philadelphia that seeks works by indie 
producers. All genres & lengths considered. 
Will return tapes. Beta SP, DV, S-VHS & DVD 
accepted for possible cablecast VHS for pre- 
view. Contact: Debbie Rudman, DUTV, 3141 
Chestnut St, Bldg. 9B, Rm. 4026, Philadelphia, 



PA 1 9 1 04: (2 1 5) 895-2927; dutv@drexel.edu; 
www.dutv.org. 

FASTSHOOTERS is accepting short feature 
films, animations and videos to asemble in a 
TV-broadcast-length collection for pitch to net- 
works. All mediums and genres. For more infor- 
mation: www.fastshooters.com. 

Fl LM Fl N DS, KSC-TVS new showcase of inde- 
pendent films, now seeks work for broadcast in 
Minneapolis/St Paul. Only feature-length nar- 
rative films considered. Work must have played 
in at least 2 juried film fests & cannot have had 
a wide release or previously been broadcast on 
network TV. For more info & a downloadable 
appl., www.mnfilm.org; filmfinds@mnfilm.org. 

FILMS/VIDEO WANTED For weekly 
Experimental Video-art TV program on Time 
Warner Networks/broadcast in Manhattan & 
Brooklyn 800,000 viewers. Snack on Art, PO 
Box 050050, Brooklyn, NY 11205; 
www.snackonart.org; snackonart@yahoo.com. 

INDUSTRIALTELEVISION: Cutting-edge cable 
access show now in its 8th year, is looking for 
experimental, humorous, quirky dramatic, erot- 
ic, horror/sci-fi, animated and underground 
works for the new season. Controversial, 
uncensored and subversive material is encour- 
aged & given priority. We guarantee exposure 
in the NYC area We accept: DVC Pro, mini-DV, 
SVHS. VHS, 3/4" SP, 3/4", Hi-8. Contact: 
Edmund Varuolo, c/o 2droogies productions, 
Box 020206, Staten Island, NY 10302; 
ed@2droogies.com; www.2droogies.com. 

KQED-TV, public television serving San 
Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, looking for inde- 
pendent docs & dramas 6-60 min. for broad- 
cast acquisition. Contact: Scott Dwyer, (415) 
553-2218: sdwyer@kqed.org. 

NEW CASTLE COMMUNITY TV STATION IN 
Chappaqua NY with a potential viewership of 
over 1 00,000 people, offers the opportunity for 
new and seasones video/media producers to 
cablecast their projects. Preference given to 
Northern Westchester but all Westchester res- 
idents are welcome. For more info contact 
NCCTV@hotmail.com. 

P.O.V., PBS's award-winning showcase of inde- 
pendent non-fiction film, seeks submissions 
for its next season. All styles & lengths of indep. 
nonfiction films welcome. Unfinished work at 
fine-cut stage may be eligible for completion 
funds. Deadline: July 31 (212) 989-2041 
x. 3 1 8; www.pbs.org/pov. 



62 The Independent | April 2004 



PBS INDEPENDENT LENS: The PBS 

Programming Department is seeking submis- 
sions tor the 2004 fall season of its independ- 
ent film and video series, INDEPENDENT 
LENS with a deadline of September, 2004. 
Offering filmmakers a national broadcast 
venue for their works, INDEPENDENT LENS 
accepts completed works of all genres and 
lengths. Fiction, nonfiction documentaries or 
live short action works are welcome. For futher 
information on submissions call the PBS 
Programming Department at 703/739-5010 
or go to www.pbs.org/producers. 

QUEER PUBLIC ACCESS TV PRODUCERS: 

Seek public access show tapes by/for/about 
gay, lesbian, bi, drag, trans subjects, for inclu- 
sion in academic press book on queer commu- 
nity programming. All program genres wel- 
come. Info about your program's history & dis- 
tribution. Send VHS tapes to: Eric Freedman, 
Asst. Professor, Comm. Dept, Florida Atlantic 
Univ., 777 Glades Rd„ Boca Raton, FL 33431 ; 
(561) 297-2534; efreedma@fau.edu. 

SHORT LIST: Showcase for mt'l short films, 
airs throughout North America on PBS sta- 
tions. Licenses all genres, 30 sec. to 20 mins. 
Produced inassociation w/ Eastman Kodak & 
Cox Channel 4. Awards 5 Kodak product 
grants annually. Submit on VHS, DVD, or CD. 
Appl. form avail, on www.theshortlist.ee. Fax: 
(619) 462-8266; shortlist@mail.sdsu.edu. 

SHORT TV is the only cable network entirely 
dedicated to Short Films, produced & directed 
by today's emerging independent filmmakers. 
Short TV broadcasts in New York City, Los 
Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia & 
Detroit to around 2 million households. 
www.shorttv.com, (212) 226-6258. 

SUB ROSA STUDIOS seeks a variety of dif- 
ferent video & film productions for ongoing 
Syracuse-area TV programming & VHS/ 
DVD/TV worldwide release. Seeking shorts or 
feature-length nonfiction productions in all 
areas of the special-interest or instructional 
fields, cutting-edge documentaries & children 
& family programming. Also seeking feature- 
length fiction, all genres, especially horror & 
sci-fi. Supernatural-themed products wanted, 
both fiction & nonfiction, especially supernatu- 
ral/horror fiction shot documentary style (real- 
istic). Ron Bonk, Sub Rosa Studios, call 
(315) 652-3868; or email webmaster® 
b-movie.com; www.b-movie.com. 

WOLFTOOB: local New York City TV show is | 
looking for short films and music videos from 



1-17 min. Wolftoob is watched by thousands. 
Contact: info@wolftoob.com. 

ZOOM: ZOOM is a kids-only series on PBS, 
featuring kids plays, films, games & more. 
ZOOM is seeking films, animation & videos 
made by kids (some adult supervision okay). 
Every kid who sends something will receive a 
free newsletter filled w/ fun activities & may 
see their film on TV. Length: up to 3 min. 
Format: 3/4", VHS, Hi8, super 8, 16mm, Beta, 
digital formats. Age: 5-14. Subjects should be 
age appropriate. Contact: Marcy Gunther, 
WGBH/ZOOM, 125 Western Ave., Boston, 
MA 02134; marcy_gunther@wgbh.org. 

WEBCASTS 

TURBULENCE is a project of New Radio and 
Performing Arts, Inc. (NRRA), a not-for-profit 
501 (c)(3) organization that has as its core mis- 
sion the commissioning of netart works by 
emerging and established artists. To be consid- 
ered for year round commissions, please see 
our guidelines @ http://turbulence.org/guide 
lines.html To receive announcements about 
specific competitions, please go to http://tu 
rbulence.org and click on "Subscribe" in the 
table of contents. Turbulence@turbulence.org. 

WIGGED PRODUCTIONS is an internet based 
arts organization dedicated to making new and 
innovative art more accessible through broad- 
cast and online presentations. Seeking recent- 
ly completed videos less than 10 minutes that 
interpret pieces of art such as dance, music, 
poetry or visual art by means of cinemato- 
graphic methods. Selected videos will be 
streamed over the Internet via Wigged's home- 
page. www.wigged.net. Deadline: ongoing. 



AIVF MEMBERS 

CAN SEARCH AN 

INTERACTIVE 

DIRECTORY 



WWW.AIVF.ORG/LISTINGS 




training 



digital/non-linear editing 



Beginning, intermediate, and 
advanced classes are offered 
monthly. 



The Wexner Center for the Arts 
is an Avid Authorized Education 
Center serving Ohio, Indiana, 
Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, 
and Kentucky. 

Call for more information 

Maria Troy, 674 292-7617 

wexner center for the arts 
the ohio state university 
1871 north high street 
columbus, ohio 43210 
www.wexarts.org 



April 2004 | The Independent 63 



Classifieds 

Deadline: First of each month, two 
months prior to cover date (e.g. May 
1st for July/August issue). Contact: 
(212) 807-1400, x241; fax: (212)463- 
8519; classifieds@aivf.org. 

PER ISSUE COST: 0-240 characters 
(incl. spaces & punctuation): $45 for 
nonmembers/$30 for AIVF members; 
241-360 chars: $65/$45; 361-480 
chars: $80/$60; 481-600 chars: 
$95/$75; over 600 characters: Call for 
quote, (212) 807-1400, x241. 

FREQUENCY DISCOUNT: $5 off per 
issue for ads running 5+ times. 

Ads exceeding the specified length 
will be edited. Place ad via 
www.aivf.org/independent/classi- 
fieds or type copy and mail with the 
check or money order to: AIVF, 304 
Hudson St, 6th Fl., New York, NY 
10013. Include billing address, day- 
time phone, # of issues, and valid 
member ID# for member discount. To 
pay by VISA/MC/AMEX include card 
#, name on card and expiration date. 



INTERACTIVE 

CLASSIFIEDS ARE AVAILABLE 

AT WWWJUVF.ORG 



BUY * RENT * SELL 

24P HD SONY 900 PKG Full Sony CineAlta pkg 
DP with extensive credits/awards. Grip truck 
with Tungsten, HMI, KINO-FLO lighting, track 
dolly, mini jib. All credit cards. For rates and reels 
shoothd@shoothd.com or (203) 981-0969. 

AATON XTR 16/SUP16 camera package for 
rent Canon zooms, Zeiss primes & full sup- 
port Abel Maintained. Great rates. (718) 
398-6688 or email: jryrisius@aol.com. 

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE AT LOW PRICES, NO 
RESTRICTIONS: Offering a High Quality, 
Extensive Library of Public Domain Footage 
spanning the 20th Century at prices inde- 
pendent producers can afford. Footage Farm 
(888) 270-1 41 4; www.footagefarm.com. 

ARE YOU SEEKING FOOTAGE FROM 
IRAQ? Beirut-based Rebus Production can 
produce, shoot and edit projects in the 
Middle East at highly competitive rates 



(w/Sony PD-150, Panasonic AG-DVX 100, 
Canon XL-1 and G5 systems w/Final Cut 
Pro 4 and Cinewave). With excellent contacts 
throughout the region, we have shot and 
reported stories from Lebanon to Iraq. Clients 
include PBS, CBC, BBC and NPR. Contact 
VatcheBoulghourjian at vmb@rebus-i.com or 
+961 3 750-836. 

AVID 1000 and AVID MC OFFLINE FOR 
RENT. 7/24 building, 7/24 tech support 
Midtown Manhattan. Great rooms, great 
views. Diva Edit at (212) 947-8433. 

DP w/ SONY 900 24p HD PKG. Young, cool 
DP with tons of gear. Full grip pkg. HMIs, tung- 
sten, doorway dolly, crew contacts. If I don't 
have it I can get it cheap. Call for info- Steve 
(917) 573-2470: eggjelly@yahoo.com. 

EQUIPMENT RENTALS FOR LOW BUD- 
GETS: Production Junction is owned & oper- 
ated by a fellow independent. Cameras. 
Lights, Mies, Decks, etc. Call Chris 24/7 
(917) 288-9000 or view equipment & rates 
@ ProductionJunction.com. 

FILMMAKING E-BOOK "MAKING SHORT 
FILMS." Mainly digital; mainly minimalist; 
mainly for beginners. Learn the art of film 
through hands-on experience. Download 
PDF version you can print By Jim Piper, 
long-time professor of filmmaking. Visit 
www.makingshortfilms.com. 

KEEP IT DIGITAL! Digibeta deck for rent (Sony 
A-500) $400/day, $1200/week Also dubs 
to/from Digibeta to Beta-SR VHS. DVCam. 
mini-DV, etc. Uncompressed Avid suite, too. 
Production Central (212) 631-0435. 

LETS MAKE YOUR MOVIE We have a 24' grip 
truck and a 1 4' truck with lighting, electrical etc. 
Also have a 60kw generator mounted on a 
separate truck, a tulip type crane and elmack 
dolly and car trailer. Also have a ARRI 16mm 
camera and DAT sound system. I am a very 
experienced actor looking for the right role and 
deal, in which case I would be willing to offer all 
of the above on a deferment basis. Contact 
Danny at (770) 540-6729. 

OFFICE FOR RENT IN SUITE OF INDIES. 
Large windows, great view. Midtown 7/24 
building. Short or long term sub-lease. Tel: 
(212)947-1395. 

PR FOR YOUR FILM; Open City 
Communications provides high-impact PR 
support for film & video releases, webcasts, 



festivals, online sites, books, special events, 
creative artists & other entities in need of 
media attention. Opencity@aol.com. 

FREELANCE 

35MM & 16MM PROD. PKG. w/ DP. 

Complete package w/ DP's own Arri 35BL. 
1 6SR, HMIs, lighting, dolly, Tulip crane, 
camjib, DAT, grip & 5-ton truck. . . more. Call 
for reel: Tom Agnello (201) 741-4367; road 
toindy@aol.com. 

ACCOUNTANT/ BOOKKEEPER/CON- 
TROLLER: Experience in both corporate & 
nonprofit sectors. Hold MBA in Marketing & 
Accounting. Freelance work sought Sam 
Sagenkahn (917) 374-2464. 

ANDREW DUNN, Director of Photography/ 
camera operator Arri35 BL3. Aaton XTRprod 
S16, Sony DVCAM. Experience in features, 
docs. TV & industrials. Credits: Dog Run, 
Strays, Working Space/Working Light (212) 
477-01 72; AndrewDI 58@aol.com. 

ARE YOU STUCK? Fernanda Rossi, script & 
documentary doctor, specializes in narrative 
structure in all stages of the filmmaking 
process, including story development fundrais- 
ing trailers and post-production. She has doc- 
tored over 30 films and is the author of Trailer 
Mechanics." For private consultations and 
workshops visit www.documentarydoctor.com 
or write to info@documentarydoctor.com. 

BRENDAN C. FLYNT: Director of Photography 
for feature films and shorts. Owns 35mm Arri 
BL 3, Super 16, 24p, complete lighting pkg. 
and a Tulip Crane. Best Cinematography Award 
for "Final Round" and other film Awards at 
Sundance, Berlin, and Raindance. Call for more 
info at: (212)208-0968 or www.dpFlyntcom 
bcflynt@yahoo.com. 

COMPOSER: 1 5 years composing for film & 
TV. Creative, versatile, subtle & fast; music 
w/heart. Orchestral & ambient textures, con- 
temporary grooves. Live action & animation. 
B. Music, N.E.C. Demos & details at 
steveraskin.com. 212-229-1966. 

COMPOSER ELLIOT SOKOLOV: creative, 
experienced multi-faceted composer/sound 
designer. Credits incl. award winning docus, 
features, TV films, animations on networks, 
cable, PBS, MTV. Full prod, studio in NYC. 
Excels in any musical style, great refs. 
Columbia MA in composition. Big sound for 
small budget projects. (212) 721-3218 



64 The Independent | April 2004 



elliotsoko@aol.com. 

COMPOSER: Established film scorer, classi- 
cally trained, awards, 100s of commissions, 
complete recording facility available for film 
soundtracks. Tell me what's in your head. 
(215) 487-9446. www.johnavarese.com. 

COMPOSER MAT EISENSTEIN awesome 
collaborator-works in all styles-NYC Midtown 
studio-all budgets! Credits incl. national com- 
mercials and test, shorts, www.mateisen 
stein.com (917) 863-6389. 

COMPOSER MIRIAM CUTLER loves to col- 
laborate - docs, features. Lost In La Mancha, 
Sundance/POV Scout's Honor & Licensed 
To Kill, Peace x Peace, Stolen Childhoods, 
Amy's & more. (310) 398-5985 
mir.cut@verizon.net. www.miriamcutler.com. 

COMPOSER: Original music for your film or 
video project. Will work with any budget. 
Complete digital studio. NYC area. Demo CD 
upon request. Call Ian O'Brien: (201) 222- 
2638; iobrien@bellatlantic.net. 

COMPOSER QUENTIN CHIAPPETTA 

Chiappetta Music in any style-orch to elec- 
tro.Cred its-Travel Channel, Nat. Geo. PBS, 
NFL, Sundance & festivals worldwide. Great 
refs, pro Studio, Eastman grad. Budget con- 
scious! (718) 782-4535; medianoise 
@excite.com. 

COMPOSER SARAH PLANT Original 
licensed music. Arr., flutes: Ang Lee Oscar- 
nom. Eat Drink Man Woman. Scores: PBS, 
Bravo, Canal+, Nat. Hist. Museum. Classical, 
contemp, int'l. Acoustic+digital studio. 
www.sarahplantmusic.com. (845) 657-8454. 

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY w/ Arri SR 
Super 16/1 6mm & 35BL-2 camera pkgs. 
Expert Lighting & Camerawork for independ- 
ent films. Create that "big film" look on a low 
budget. Great prices, willing to travel. 
Matthew (617) 244-6730; (845) 439-5459. 

DP WITH FILM, VIDEO, & LIGHTING/GRIP 
PACKAGES. Extensive documentary & inde- 
pendent project experience. Well-traveled, 
multi-lingual and experience field producing 
as well. Call Jerry for reel/rates: (718) 398- 
6688 or email jryrisius@aol.com. 

EDITOR FINAL CUT PRO POWER-MAC G4. 

2003-4 NYFA Grant Winner. $65/hr or by 
day/wk. Discounts: Members of Arts Orgs, 
Unions, Students, Seniors. Transfers, labels, 



dupes, stills, photos, DVDs. Village. Bill 
Creston, eMediaLoft.org (212) 924-4893. 

EDITOR with wide range of skills & experi- 
ence: let's talk about your project. Private 
Beta SP & DV editing suite; East Village loca- 
tion. Reel available. For more information call 
(917) 523-6260 or go to www.High 
NoonProd.com. 

GRANTWRITING/FUNDRAISING: 

Research, writing & strategy (for production, 
distribution, exhibition & educational media 
projects). Successful proposals to NYSCA, 
NEA, NEH, ITVS, Soros, Rockefeller, Lila 
Acheson Wallace Foundation. Fast writers, 
reasonable rates. Wanda Bershen, (212) 
598-0224; www.reddiaper.com. 

JAY SILVER: Director of Photography, 
Owner/Operator of Aaton XTRprod S16/R16 
& Arri35 BL3. Experience shooting features, 
commercials, music videos & docs. Credits: 
Wendigo, Persona au Gratin, Eurotrash. (718) 
383-1 325 jay.silver@venzon.net 

LOCATION SOUND: Over 25 yrs sound exp. 
w/ timecode Nagra & DAT, quality mics & 
mixers. Reduced rates for low-budget proj- 
ects. Harvey & Fred Edwards, (518) 677- 
5720; (819) 459-2680; edfilms@world 
net.att.net; www.edwardsfilms.com. 

NEED PRODUCER BUT THINK YOU CANT 
AFFORD ONE? Experienced professional 
Line Producer for Budget (detailed/top- 
sheet), Script Breakdown, Schedule, Day- 
out-of-Days. Specialty low budget but high 
quality AnnettaLM@aol.com for rates/refer- 
ences. 

STORYBOARD ARTIST: With independent film 
experience. Loves boarding action sequences 
and complicated shots. Save money by having 
shots worked out before cameras roll. Call 
Kathryn Roake. (718) 788-2755. 

OPPORTUNITIES » GIGS 

50 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR VIDEO BUSI- 
NESS. FREE REPORT. Grow a successful 
video business in Legal, Wedding, Corporate, 
TV and more. For more http://videouniversity 
.com/50web.htm. 

PREPRODUCTION 

BUDGETS/INVESTOR PACKAGE: Exp. Line 
Producer will prepare script breakdowns, 
shooting schedules & detailed budgets. 



Movie Magic equipped. Credit cards accept- 
ed. Indie rates. Mark (212) 340-1243 or 
LineProducerNYC@aol.com. 

SU-CITY PICTURES clients win awards & 
get deals! Susan Kouguell, Tufts instructor, 
author The Savvy Screenwriter analyzes: 
scripts /films /treatments/queries/syn- 
opses/pitches. Over 1,000 clients worldwide 
incl: Miramax, Warner Bros, Fine Line. 
Rewrites available. (212) 219-9224; 
www.su-city-pictures.com. 

POSTPRODUCTION 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION: Full service 
audio post-production facility. Mix-to-picture, 
ADR, voice-over, sound design & editing. 
Features, shorts, docs, TV & Radio. Contact 
Andy, All Ears Inc: (718) 399-6668 (718) 
496-9066 andy@allearspost.com. 

AVID EDITOR: Over 25 feature films. Also 
Trailers, Docs, TV, Reels. Fully equipped 
Tribeca AVID suite, FCP, DVD. Pro-tools edit- 
ing & mixing. Very fast & easy to get along 
with. Credit cards accepted. Drina (212) 
561-0829. DrinaL@aol.com. 

BRODSKY & TREADWAY: film-to-tape trans- 
fers, wet-gate, scene-by-scene, reversal film 
only. Camera orig. Regular 8mm, Super 8, and 
1 6mm. For appointment call (978) 948-7985. 

CERTIFIED FINAL CUT PRO INSTRUCTOR, 

offering small workshops for FCP 4, and pri- 
vate tutorials for FCP 3 & 4. For more ino 
(917) 523-6260; e-mail Hinoonprod 
@aol.com or www.HighNoonProd.com. 

PRODUCTION TRANSCRIPTS: Verbatim 
transcription service for docs, journalists, film 
and video. Low prices & flat rates based on 
tape length, www.productiontranscripts.com 
for details or call: (888) 349-3022. 

SOUND EDIT/DESIGN/MIX: Protools HD, 
5.1, M&E. AVID &FCP equipped. 10 Years 
Exp. Dozens of Features and Shorts, TV, 
Docs, Trailers, Spots. Flat Rate Packages 
available. Credit Cards. Frank, Mark (212) 
340-4770 SoundDesignMix@aol.com. 



WWW.AIVF.ORG/CLASSIFIEDS 



April 2004 | The Independent 65 



Notices 

By Jessica McDowell 

Noncommercial notices are listed 
free of charge as space permits. The 
Independent reserves the right to 
edit for length and makes no guaran- 
tees about duration of listing. Limit 
submissions to 60 words and indi- 
cate how long your information will 
be current. Listings must be submit- 
ted to notices@aivf.org by the first of 
the month two months prior to cover 
date (e.g., July 1 for Sept. issue). 
Remember to give us complete con- 
tact info (name, address, and phone 
number). Listings do not constitute 
an endorsement by The Independent 
or AIVF. We try to be as current and 
accurate as possible, but neverthe- 
less: double-check details before 
sending anyone anything. 

COMPETITIONS 

ACTION/CUT SHORT FILM COMPETITION: 

This competition will showcase new indie 
filmmakers and their work from across the 
world, recognize the most talented with mul- 
tiple awards & career services, and open 
access doors to the Hollywood film industry. 
Cats: fiction, doc, animation: prizes: $25,000 
in cash, career services, and sponsor awards, 
including career advisory meetings with 
industry players and exposure at film festi- 
vals, distribution deal offers, and promotions 
throughout the biz and the web. Deadline: 
May 1 5, 2004. Visit: www.actioncut.com or 
call (800)815-5545. 

BRITISH SHORT SCREENPLAY COMPETI- 
TION, presented by Kaos Films, seeks origi- 
nal, short, unpublished, unproduced & unsold 
screenplays (5-15 minutes) from all over the 
world. Winning script will be produced by 
Kaos Films & premiere at the British 
Academy (BAFTA) to an audience of agents, 
producers, directors, film sales agents & fel- 
low writers. Deadline: May 28, 2004. Entry 
fee: £25 (US $39.95). lnfo@kaosfilms.co.uk; 
www.kaosfilms.co.uk. 

CYNOSURE SCREENWRITING AWARDS. 

presented by BroadMmd Entertainment, is 
open to feature-length screenplays in two cat- 
egories: scripts w/ female protagonists & 
scripts w/ minority protagonists (male & 
female). Works must not have been previously 
optioned, purchased, or produced & must be 
registered w/ the WGA or US copyright office. 



One $2,500 award issued in each category. 
Entry fee: $40, early (postmarked by March 
13); $45, regular (postmarked by April 10); 
$50, late (postmarked by May 8). Tel.: (310) 
855-8730; cynsoure@BroadMindEnt.com; 
www.BroadMmdEnt.com. 

IFP MARKET CALL FOR ENTRIES: The only 
selective market in the US where filmmakers 
present new film and TV work in development 
directly to the industry. More than $1 50,000 in 
cash and awards. Sept 1 9-24, New York City: 
applications at www.ifp.org; marketinfo 
©ifp.org: 212.465.8200x207. Submission: 
$50; students attend free. 

SLAMDANCE SCREENPLAY COMPETITION 
2003 seeks original short & feature screen- 
plays that must not have been previously 
optioned, purchased, or produced (see entry 
form for other rules). Prizes incl. cash, passes 
to next year's Slamdance, plus exposure to a 
major literary agency & major studio. Any 
genre. Entry fee varies. Early entry: April 19, 
2004; late deadline: June 20, 2004. For more 
info, call (323) 466-1786; screenplay@slam- 
dance.com (slamfi@xeolux.com for sci-fi entry 
questions); www.slamdance.com. 

THE ANNUAL IDA AWARDS COMPETITION, 

sponsored by Eastman Kodak, recognizes & 



accepting submissions. The screenplay com- 
petition is open to all genres. Must be feature 
length (20 pages or more). Prizes will include 
cash, awards and the top 1 5 screenplays will 
be passed along to an industry professional 
agency. Critiques will be available. Final 
deadline: April 30, 2004. Fees: $30 (post- 
marked by March 28 2004), $40 (post- 
marked by April 30, 2004). Contact Steven 
M. Opsanic; 814-873-5069; screenplay® 
greatlakesfilmfest.com. Entry form and rules 
at: www.greatlakesfilmfest.com. 

CONFERENCES* 
WORKSHOPS 

DV EXPO & CONFERENCE July 14-16. 
2004: the world of broadcast, web video. 2D, 
3D graphics & animation, sound, & data are 
coming together in ways that require new 
skills & new ways of doing business. Build 
those skills & expolre cutting edge ideas, 
trends, & technologies, www.dvexpo.com. 

INPUT 2004 International Public Television 
Screening Conference will be held in 
Barcelona, Spam on May 23-28, 2004. The US 
Input Secretariat is accepting applications for 
CPB Professional Development Fellowships to 
assist U.S. producers/ directers with airfare to 
the INPUT 2004 conference. For more infor- 



The LA based company, founded in 1999 by 
Ryan Vinson, is a film scouting service that 
connects independent filmmakers with musicians. It provides filmmakers look- 
ing for soundtrack options with a database showcasing the music of thou- 
sands of emerging musicians, both in the United States and overseas. Contract 
details are worked out directly between filmmakers and musicians. 
VersusMedia projects have screened at Sundance, Cannes, and other interna- 
tional film festivals, and the company has found the music for films in India, 
Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S. See listing. 



honors distinguished achievement in nonac- 
tion film & video. Winners honored at the 
Awards Gala at DocuFest. Early deadline: 
May 16 ($55 for IDA members, $75 non- 
members); final deadline: June 23 ($75, 
$125). Entry forms available at www.docu- 
mentary.org, or contact IDA at (213) 534- 
3600 x7446; idaawards@documentary.org. 

THE GREAT LAKES FILM ASSOCIATION 
SCREENPLAY COMPETITION is currently 



mation www.scetv.org/input or contact Terry 
Pound at 803-737-3434, pound@scetv.org; 
Or Amy Shumaker 803-737-3433; shumak 
er@scetv.org. 

PUBLICATIONS • 
DIRECTORIES 

A CLOSER LOOK, a yearly anthology of case 
studies of media arts organizations, has years 
2000-2003 available from National Alliance 



66 The Independent | April 2004 



for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC). 2003 
focuses on youth media. Free to members and 
available for purchase at www.namac.org. 

NEWENGLANDFILM.COM: is a unique online 
resource that provides local film & video pro- 
fessionals w/ searchable industry directory, 
listings of local events, screenings, jobs, calls 
for entries & upcoming productions, in addi- 
tion to filmmaker interviews & industry news. 
Reaching over 20,000 visitors each month. 
All articles & listings on sites free to read: 
www.nefilm.com. 

VERSUS MEDIA puts indie filmmakers in 
touch with indie musicians with a 24/7 data- 
base filled with musicians seeking to work 
with video and film developers, biweekly e- 
mail containing 1 of the latest musician pro- 
files & the option to post your latest projects 
where musicians can answer your needs. 
View http://www.versusmedia.com or email 
info@versusmedia.com. 

RESOURCES * FUNDS 

ACADEMY FILM SCHOLARS PROGRAM: 

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences 
is looking for 2 film scholars to grant $25,000 
each. Only established scholars, writers, histo- 
rians & researchers will be considered. 
Deadline: Aug. 31. Academy of Motion 
Pictures Arts & Sciences, (310) 247-3010; 
www.oscars.org/foundation/filmscholars. 

ASIAN AMERICAN ARTS ALLIANCE admin- 
isters the Chase Manhattan SMARTS 
Regrants Program. A total of $28,000 in 
awards is available to NYC Asian American 
arts organizations with annual budgets of 
$100,000 or less which have 501(c)(3) sta- 
tus or Charities Bureau Registration. 
Deadline: late fall. Contact: NaRhee Ahn, 
Program Director (212) 941-9208 for appli- 
cation details and deadlines. info@aaartsal 
liance.org; www.aaartsalliance.org. 

ASTRAEA provides grants up to $10,000 to 
film & video projects that reflect depth, com- 
plexity & diversity of lesbian community. 
Special attention to projects geared towards 
diverse audiences. Nonprofit fiscal sponsor- 
ship req'd. Our U.S. Grants Fund utilizes a 
community-based activist grantmaking panel 
to review proposals and to make funding 
decisions. Check website after March 2004 
for deadlines. Contact: Astraea, 1 1 6 E. 1 6th 
St., 7th fl., NY, NY 10003; (212) 529-8021, 
fax: 982-3321, www.astraea.org/grants. 



CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL offers various 
grants & programs for performing arts. 
Contact: CA Arts Council, 1300 1 St, Ste. 
930, Sacramento, CA 95814; (916) 322- 
6555; (800) 201-6201; fax: 322-6575; 
cac@cwo.com; www.cac.ca.gov. 

FLINTRIDGE FOUNDATION AWARDS FOR 
VISUAL ARTISTS: The awards honor visual 
artists who live & work in California, Oregon, 
& Washington & whose work demonstrates 
high artistic merit for 20 yrs. or more. The 
next awards cycle is 2005/2006. To receive 
application information, mail, fax, or email your 
contact information (name, address, telephone 
#, email) with a requet to be placed on the 
mailing list. Flintridge Foundation Awards for 
Visual Artists, 1040 Lincoln Ave., Ste. 100, 
Pasadena, CA 91 103; fax: (626) 585-001 1 ; 
FFAVA@flintridgeFoundation.org. 

GRAND MARNIER FILM FELLOWSHIPS are 

awarded to graduate film students enrolled in 
an educational institution in the U.S. (exclud- 
ing CA and TX) for work in filmmaking, video, 
or critical writing. Three awards of $5,000 
each will be given to students who excel in 
either film, video or critical studies. Forms 
online (www.filmlinc.org) or contact: Grand 
Marnier Film Fellowships, Film Society of 
Lincoln Center, 1 65 W. 65th St., 4th, N.Y, NY 
10023-6595. 

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE 
(ITVS) funds and presents independently pro- 
duced programming for public television 
(PBS). ITVS seeks projects that take creative 
risks, spark public dialogue and serve under- 
served audiences. All genres are eligible, 
including documentary, drama, animation and 
innovative combinations. For details on 2004 
funding, www.itvs.org/producer/funding.html. 

LATINO PUBLIC BROADCASTING: LPB 

supports the development, production, acqui- 
sition & distribution of non-commercial edu- 
cational & cultural television programming 
that is representative of Latino people or 
addresses issues of particular interest to 
Latino Americans. Funded by the Corporation 
for Public Broadcasting, LPB funding aver- 
ages between $5,000 & $100,000. LPB is 
looking for proposals that give thoughtful 
consideration to the program's target audi- 
ence as well as wider appeal. Deadline: June 
2, 2004. Contact: Latino Public 
Broadcasting, 6777 Hollywood Blvd. Ste 
500, Los Angeles, CA 90028; www.lpbp.org. 



NAATA ANNUAL OPEN CALL FOR PRODUC- 
TION FUNDING: This round of funding is for 
applicants w/public television projects in pro- 
duction &/or postproduction phases. Projects 
in research & development or script develop- 
ment phases are not eligible to apply. Awards 
will average $20,000 to $50,000, though 
exceptions may be made. Deadline: July 25, 
2004, 5 pm (receipt, not postmark) For appli- 
cation & guidelines, www.naatanet.org or 
mediafund@naatanet.org or (415) 863-0814 
x22 w/ your name, mailing address, phone, fax 
& email to be added to our mailing list. There 
is no deadline for completion funds. 

PACIFIC ISLANDERS IN COMMUNICA- 
TIONS (PIC) OPEN DOOR COMPLETION 
FUNDS are provided for the final prepara- 
tions of broadcast masters of Pacific Island- 
themed programs intended for national pub- 
lic television. Categories:doc, performance, 
children's & cultural affairs programming. PIC 
isparticularly interested in projects that 
examine & illuminate realities of Pacific 
Islander issues such as diversity, identity, & 
spirituality.. Full-length rough cut must be 
submitted w/ application. Awards up to 
$50,000. No Deadline: Proposals are 
reviewed on a rolling-basis. Contact: Gus 
Cobb-Adams, Media Fund, PIC, 1221 
Kapi'olani Blvd.6A-4, Honolulu, HI 96814; 
Tel.: (808) 591-0059 x 16; fax: 591- 
1114; gcobb-adams@piccom.org; applica- 
tions available at www.piccom.org. 

VISUAL STUDIES WORKSHOP MEDIA 
CENTER in Rochester, NY, accepts proposals 
on an ongoing basis for its Upstate Media 
Regrant Program, NO-TV test (for film and 
video artists), SMARTFEST (Student 
film/video festival), and residencies for 
Artists. The Media Center provides equip- 
ment and services in its access program, 
including low cost 16mm film to video (most 
formats) transfers. For more information call 
Rich Delia Costa at (585) 442-8676. 

WRITER'S FILM PROJECT: Sponsored by 
Paramount Pictures. Up to five writers will be 
chosen to participate & each will recieve a 
$20,000 stipend to cover his or her living 
expenses. Deadline is May 15, 2004. 
Applications must be sent by mail only. 
Contact: Chesterfield WFR 1 1 58 26th St., 
PMB 544, Santa Monica, CA 90403; 213- 
683-3977; www.chesterfield-co.com. 



April 2004 | The Independent 67 



i 



April 



Unless noted, AIVF programs take place at our 
offices (see below). RSVP is required for all 
AIVF events: call (212) 807-1400 x301 or 
register at www.aivf.org. 



AIVF PRESENTS: 

DOCUMENTARY WORKSHOPS 

Led by Script & Documentary Doctor 
Fernanda Rossi 



TRAILER MECHANICS: 
HOW TO MAKE YOUR 
FUNDRAISING TRAILER 

when: Saturday, May 1; 

two sections: 10 am-1 pm or 2-5 pm 

where: AIVF 

cost. S60./S50 AIVF members; S140/ 

SI 15 ATVF members workshops pass 

with Doctoring your Doc. To RSVP 

and for more info: 

www.documentarydoctor.com 

workshops.html. Register by April 

29th. Limited seats. 



group sessions not only answer com- 
mon questions but also connect pro- 
ducers to the individuals and 
resources that can assist them on an 
ongoing basis. 

This session will address rights that 
must be cleared to use original and 
pre-existing music in an audiovisual 
project, including synchronization 
rights, master use rights, performance 
rights, and publishing rights. We will 



DOCTORING YOUR DOC: 
HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR 
DOCUMENTARY 

when: Saturday. April 24. 

10 am-5:30 pm 

where: Goldcrest Post, 

799 Washington St., NYC 

cost: S 1 15 S95 AIVF members: S 140 

SI 15 AT\T members workshops pass 

with Trailer Mechanics. 

To RSVP and for more info: 

www.documentarydoctor.com/ 

workshops.html. Register by April 

21th. Limited seats. 

A full day experiential hands-on work- 
shop for producers, directors, writers. 
editors and composers. 

Stuck in the cutting room? Or maybe 
with lots of ideas and footage but no 
clue where to get started? A solid 
structure is as necessary to your docu- 
mentary as a strong script is to a nar- 
rative film. 

With hands-on exercises and analy- 
sis of films, this workshop can give 
you the guidelines you need to find 
solutions that are true to your docu- 
mentary's style. Bring your work-in- 
progress (not required to attend). 
There will also be a raffle! 



"Can I see your trailer?" Let's face it, a 
trailer can make or break your film. It 
can get you funded or it can put you 
on the "passed" list. 

Trailer Mechanics is a three hour 
workshop for producers, directors, 
writers, and editors about building a 
short trailer demo of a documentary 
film. We will consider principles of 
narrative structure and screen, and 
analvze different trailers, including 
those of workshop attendees. Bring 
your footage (raw - or cut) for discus- 
sion (not required to attend). There 
will also be a raffle! 

IN BRIEF: 

AIVF PRODUCERS 
LEGAL SERIES: 
MUSIC IN FILM & TV 

when: Tues. April 20. 

6:30-8:30 pm 
where: ART 
cost: S40 S25 ART members 

The ART Producers Legal Series 
addresses specific issues of concern to 
independent producers. Each session 
is moderated and co-produced by 
entertainment attorney Innes 
Smolansky, who is joined by a panel of 
industry professionals. These small 




reach AIVF... 

Filmmakers' Resource Library 
hours: Wed. 11-6; 1st and 2nd Wed. 
of each month: 1 1 -9; or by appt to 
AIVF members Tues. & Thurs. 1 1 -6. 

The AIVF office is located at 

304 Hudson St (between Spring & 

Vandam) 6th fl., in New York City. 

Our Filmmakers' Resource Library 
houses hundreds of print and 
electronic resources, from essential 
directories & trade magazines to 
sample proposals & budgets. 

By phone: (212)807-1400 
Recorded information available 24/7; 
operator on duty Tues.-Thurs. 2-5 
p.m. EST 

By internet: www.aivf.org; 
info@aivf.org 



AIVF 



I association ot independent | 
video and filmmakers 



68 The Independent | April 2004 



discuss the different structure of com- 
poser agreements including work for 
hire agreement and different types of 
license agreements. We will also 
explain the PBS exemption. 

AIVF RECOMMENDS: 

PORTLAND DOCUMENTARY 
AND EXPERIMENTAL FILM 
FESTIVAL 

when: April 15-18 

where: Northwest Film Center's Guild 

Theatre, downtown Portland, OR 

The PDX Film Festival is a four day 
exposition dedicated to showcasing 
new innovative works of film and 
video in an intimate space, with a 
focus on non-narrative works that go 
against the current of mainstream 
entertainment. 

For more information: www.rodeofilmco.com/ 
peripheralproduce/pdxff.html 

AIVF RECOMMENDS: 

NASHVILLE FILM 
FESTIVAL 

when: April 26 - May 2 
where: Nashville, TN 

The Nashville Film 
Festival is a seven day 
celebration of independent and inter- 
national film and video, with a special 
nod to films about music. The festival 
also includes panels and workshops on 
filmmaking and music in films, live 
music showcases, and other special 
events. 

For more info: www.nashvillefilmfestival.org 
AIVF RECOMMENDS: 

HOT DOCS CANADIAN 
INTERNATIONAL DOC FEST 

when: April 23 - May 2 
where: Toronto, Canada 

Hot Docs is North America's largest 
documentary festival. Each year, the 
festival presents a selection of over 100 
cutting-edge documentaries from 
Canada and around the globe. 




Through its industry programs, the 
festival also provides a full range of 
professional development, market and 
networking opportunities for docu- 
mentary professionals. 

For more info: visit www.hotdocs.ca 



AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT: 
FILMS AT 
LINCOLN *■ 

CENTER 




9*2 

1 & e 



V 



where: Walter Reade 
Theatre, Lincoln Center, 
165 W 65th St., NYC 

AIVF members may attend select 
series (listed below) at a discounted 
rate— just $5 per ticket. Bring your 
membership card to the box office! 

April 3 - 15 - The 11th New York 
African Film Festival 

April 12, 13, 17, 18, 24 & 25- 
Conductors on Film 

April 22 — Independents Night 

Presents: Farmingville 

April 16 - May 6 — Forever Changes: 
Polish Cinema Since 1989 

For more information visit www.filmlinc.com. 

AIVF MEMBER DISCOUNT: 

WOMEN MAKE 

MOVIES yS 

WORKSHOP *T$T 

SERIES **r 

where: 462 Broadway, 

Ste. 500, New York, NY 

WMM continue their workshop series 

and offering discount rates for AIVF 

members. 

FUNDER PANEL 

when: April 14, 6:30-9:30 pm 
cost: $40/$32 discount rate 

Come listen to a panel of media fun- 
ders describe their organizations. 
Confirmed panelists to date include: 
Nancy Schwartzman (National 



Foundation for Jewish Culture), Sheila 
Stowell (North Star Fund), Milton 
Tabbot (Radziwill Documentary 
Fund). 

ALTERNATIVE FUNDRAISING PANEL 

when: April 21, 6:30-9:30 pm 
cost: $40/$32 discount rate 

Tap into the resources of individual 
donors, artist colonies, and corpora- 
tions! From planning an event to 
direct mail campaigns, learn from a 
panel of filmmakers how they have cre- 
ated a strategy for securing donations. 
Confirmed panelists to date include 
Joyce Draganosky, Allison Prete, and 
Ruth Sergei. 

FRANCES NEGRON-MUNTANER ON 
DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING 

when: April 22, 6:30-9:30 pm 
cost: $60/$48 discount rate 

Frances Negron-Muntaner is an award- 
winning filmmaker, writer, and schol- 
ar. Join her for an evening as she talks 
about how she built her successful 
career by looking at each film she has 
made. 

To register, call (212) 925-0606 x302, or visit 
www.wmm.com. 

DOCFEST/DOC SHOP 

when: Reception 7-8 pm, 

Screening 8 p.m. following by Q & A 

with director. 

where: The Pioneer Theater, 

155 E 3rd St., NYC 

cost: $9 

The New York Documentary Center 
programming continues year round 
with two monthly screening and dis- 
cussion series: docshop and docfest 
monthly. 

April 20 — Shelter Dogs, by Cynthia 
Wade 



For info, visit www.docfest.org or call 
(646) 505-5708. 



April 2004 | The Independent 69 



The AIVF Regional Salons provide an 
opportunity for members to discuss 
work, meet other independents, share 
war stories, and connect with the AIVF 
community across the country. 

Visit www.aivf.org/regional for an over- 
view of the broad variety of Regional 
Salon programs. 

Be sure to contact your local Salon 
leader to confirm date, time, and loca- 
tion of the next meeting. 

Albany/Troy, NY: 
Upstate Independents 

When: First Tuesdays. 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Arcs Center of the Capital 
Region 265 River Street. Troy. NT 
Contact. Jeff Burns. (518) 366-1538 
alban\"@aivf.org 

Atlanta, GA: IMAGE 

When: Second Tuesdavs. 7 p.m. 

Where: Redlight Cafe 

553 Amsterdam Ave. 

Contact: Mark Smith. (404) 352-4225 xl2 

atlanta@ai\f.org: www.imagefv.org 

Austin, TX: 

Contact: Jen White. (512) 917-3027 
austin@aivf.org 

Boston, MA: Center for 
Independent Documentary 

Contact: Susan Walsh. ("81 ) "84-3627 
boston@ai\f.org 

Boulder, CO: 

"Films for Change" Screenings 

When: First Tuesdavs. 7 p.m. 

Where: Boulder Public Library 

1000 .Arapahoe 

Contact: Michael Hill. 

(303) 442-8445 xlOO: boulder@aivf.org 

Charleston, SC: 

When: Last Thursdays. 6:30 p.m. 
Where: Charleston Countv Librarv 
68 Calhoun Street 

Contact: Peter Paolini, (843) 805-6841: or 
Peter \X'ent\vorth. charleston@aivf.org 

Cleveland, OH: 

Ohio Independent Film Festival 

Contact: Annetta Marion or Bernadette 
Gillota, (216) 651-7315: cleveland@aivf.org 
u-ww.ohiofilms.com 

Columbia, SC: 

When: Second Sundays 
Where: Art Bar. 121 1 Park St. 
Contact: Wade Sellers. (803) 929-0066 
columbia@aivf.org 



Dallas, TX: 

Video Association of Dallas 

When: Bi-monthly 

Contact: Bart Weiss, (214) 428-8700 

dallas@aivf.org 

Edison, NJ: 

Where: Passion River Productions, 
190 Lincoln Hwy. 

Contact: Allen Chou, (732) 321-0711 
edison@aivf.org. www.passionriver.com 

Fort Wayne, IN: 

Contact: Erik Mollberg 

(260) 691-3258; fornva\'ne@ai\f.org 

Houston, TX: SWAMP 

When: Last Tuesdays. 6:30 p.m. 

Where: 1519 West Main 

Contact: Man- Lampe, (713) 522-8592 

houston@aivf.org 

Huntsville, AL: 

Contact Charles XXliite, (256) 895-0423 

hunts\ille@ai vf.org 

Jefferson County, AL: 

Contact: Paul Godby. (205) 956-3522 
jeffersoncounty@ai vf.org 

Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Independent 
Film Project 

When: Second Wednesdays. 5:30 p.m. 
Where: Telepro, 1844 N Street 
Contact: Jared Minary. lincoln@aivf.org, 
(402) 467-1077. www.nifp.org 

Los Angeles, CA: EZTV 

Wlien: Third Mondavs. 7:30 p.m. 

Where: EZTV. 1653 18th St.. 

Santa Monica 

Contact. Michael Masucci 

(310) 829-3389: losangeles@aivf.org 

Milwaukee, Wl: Milwaukee 
Independent Film Society 

When: First Wednesdays, 7 p.m. 
Where: Milwaukee Enterprise Center. 
2821 North 4th. Room 140 
Contact. Laura Gembolis 
(414) 688-2375; milwaukee@aivf.org 
www.mifs.org, salon 

Nashville, TN 

Where: See www.naivf.com for events 
Contact: Stephen Lackey. filmmakers@ 
captain-pLxel.com 

Portland, OR: 

Where: Holh-wod Theatre 

Contact: David Bryant, (503) 244-4225 

portland@aivf.org 



Rochester, NY: 

Where: Visual Studies Workshop 

Contact: Liz Lehmann 

(585) 377-1109; rochester@aivf.org 

San Diego, CA: 

When: Monthly 

Where: Media Arts Center, 921 25th Street 

Contact: Ethan van Thillo (619) 230-1938; 

sandiego@aivf.org 

San Francisco, CA: 

Contact: Tami Saunders 

(650) 271-0097: sanfrancisco@aivf.org 

Seattle, WA: Seattle Indie Network 

Widen: Bi-monthly 

Where: Wiggly World and 911 Media Arts 

Center 

Contact Heather Ayres, (206) 200-0933: 

Wes Kim, (206) 719-6261; seattle@aivf.org 

Tucson, AZ: 

Contact: Rachel Sharp, (520) 906-7295 
tucson@aivf.org 

Washington, DC: 

Contact: Joe Torres, DC Salon hotline, 
(202) 661-7145, washingtondc@aivf.org 



Nashville's Newbie 

Nashville filmmakers are hopping 
on the AIVF salon bandwagon. The 
recently launched Nashville Salon, 
which had their first meeting in late 
February, is gearing up to be a reg- 
ular meeting point for everyone 
"from no budget Hi8 filmmakers, to 
those who work with a budget and 
on film, to people who simply enjoy 
independent film," according to the 
salon leader Stephen Lackey. The 
salon will provide a place to share 
ideas, screen projects (at the 
Watkins Film School) and learn 
more about the indie film world. 
Current plans for the organization 
also include getting involved with 
the local Belcourt Theatre on local 
projects and events, and working 
with the Nashville Film Festival, as 
well as workshops on filmmaking, 
distribution, and festivals. See 
www.naivf.com for more info. 



70 The Independent | April 2004 



AIVF THANKS 



The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF) provides a wide range of programs and services for independent 
moving image makers and the media community, including The Independent and a series of resource publications, seminars and 
workshops, information services, and arts and media policy advocacy. 

None of this work would be possible without the generous support of the AIVF membership and the following organizations: 



W 



Soaeo"neArfc 

NYSCA 



The Academy Foundation 

Adobe Systems, Inc. 

The Caliban Foundation 

City of New York Dept. of Cultural Affairs 

Forest Creatures Entertainment, Inc. 

Home Box Office 

The Jewish Communal Fund 



John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

The New York Community Trust 

New York Foundation for the Arts 

New York State Council on the Arts 

Panasonic USA 

Sony Electronics Corporation 



We also wish to thank the following individuals and organizational members: 



Business/Industry Members: AL: Cypress Moon Productions; AZ: Duck 
Soup Productions; CA: Adobe Systems, Inc., Eastman Kodak Co.; Groovy 
Like a Movie; The Hollywood Reporter; SJPL Films, Ltd.; Ultimatum 
Entertainment; CO: Pay Reel; DC: 48 Hour Film Project; FL: E.M. 
Productions; IL: Roxie Media Corp.; Urban Work Productions; IN: The 
Storyteller Workshop; MA: Escape TV; Glidecam Industries; MD: 
NewsGroup, Inc. Ml: 10th Street Productions; Grace & Wild Studios, Inc.; 
Michael Kuentz Communications; NH: Kinetic Films; NJ: Alternative Media 
& Resources International; Lumiere Media NV: Broadcast Productions; NY: 
All In One Productions; Analog Digital International, Inc.; Arc Pictures; Arts 
Engine, Inc.; Bluprint Films; C-Hundred Film Corporation; Cataland Films; 
Cypress Films; D. R. Reiff and Associates; DNT 88 Productions; 
Docurama; Downtown Avid; Film Video Arts; Forest Creatures 
Entertainment; Fred Siegel CPA; Free Dream Films; Getcast.com; 
Greenwich Street Productions; HBO; IdDigEnt; Interflix; Karin Bacon 
Events; Lighthouse Creative; Lightworks Producing Group; Mad Mad Judy; 
Metropolis Film Lab; Moxie Firecracker Films; Off Ramp Films, Inc.; 
Outside in July, Inc.; Persona Films, Inc.; Post Typhoon Sky, Inc.; Robin 
Frank Management; Roja Productions; Triune Pictures; Wild light 
Productions; OR: Art Institute Portland; PA: Cubist Post & Effects; Rl: The 
Revival House; VA: Dig Productions; Kessler Productions; Wl: Image 
Pictures, LLC; Tweedee Productions 

Nonprofit Members: AL: Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival; CA: East Bay 
Media Center, Berkeley; Film Arts Foundation; Filmmakers Alliance; 
International Buddhist Film Festival; ITVS; LEF Foundation; NAATA/Media 
Fund; The Berkeley Documentary Center; San Francisco Jewish Film 
Festival; USC School of Cinema and TV; CO: Denver Center Media; CT: 
New Haven Film Festival; DC: Media Access Project; School of 
Communication, American University; Spark Media; FL: Florida State 
University Film School; Sarasota Film Festival; University of Tampa; GA: 
Image Film and Video Center; Savannah College of Art and Design; IL: Art 
Institute of Chicago; Community Film Workshop; Community Television 
Network; Department of Comuication/ NLU; Kartemquin Films; Light 
Bound; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; KS: Kansas City 
Filmmakers Jubilee; KY: Appalshop; MA: CCTV; Documentary Educational 
Resources; Emerson College, Visual & Media Arts; Long Bow Group; Lowell 
Telecommunications Group; LTC; MD: 7 Oils Production; Laurel Cable 
Network; Silverdocs: AFI Discovery Channel Doc Festival; Ml: Ann Arbor 
Film Festival; MN: IFP/MSP; Walker Art Center; MO: DHTV; Webster 
University Film Series; MS: Magnolia Independent Film Festival; NC: 
Cucalorus Film Foundation; Duke University, Film & Video; University of 
North Carolina, Wilmington; NE: Nebraska Independent Film Project/AIVF 
Salon Lincoln; Ross Film Theater, UN-Lincoln; NJ: Black Maria Film 



Festival; College of New Jersey, Department of Communication Studies; 
Freedom Film Society; NM: University of New Mexico; NY: American 
Museum of Natural History; Bronx Council on the Arts; Center for New 
American Media; Chicks with Flicks Film Festival; Cinema Arts Centre; 
Communications Society; Cornell Cinema; Council for Positive Images, Inc.; 
Creative Capital Foundation; Crowing Rooster Arts; Department of Media 
Study SUNY Buffalo; Donnell Media Center; Downtown Community 
Television; Educational Video Center; Experimental Television Center; Film 
and Video Center; Film Forum; Film Society of Lincoln Center; Film Video 
Arts; Firelight Media; International Film Seminars; Learning Matters; Listen 
Up!; LMC-TV; Manhattan Neighborhood Network; National Black 
Programming Consortium; National Museum of the American Indian; 
National Video Resources; New School, Dept. of Communications/Film 
Department; New York Women in Film and Television; Non Profit Media 
Group; Paper Tiger; POV/The American Documentary; Squeaky Wheel; 
Standby Program; Stony Brook Film Festival; Syracuse University; United 
Community Centers; Upstate Films; Witness; Women Make Movies; OH: 
Athens Center for Film And Video; Independent Pictures/AIVF Ohio Salon; 
Cleveland Film Society; Media Bridges Cincinatti; School of Film, Ohio 
University; Wexner Center; OR: Art Institute Portland; Media Arts, MHCC; 
Northwest Film Center; PA: DUTV Cable 54; Pennsylvania Council on the 
Arts; Prince Music Center; Scribe Video Center; WYBE Public TV 35; Rl: 
Flickers Arts Collaborative; Rhode Island School of Design; SC: Hybrid 
Films; South Carolina Arts Commission; TX: Austin Film Society; CAGE, 
Dept. of Radio and Film; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Worldfest; UT: 
Sundance Institute; VT: The Noodlehead Network; WA: Seattle Central 
Community College; Thurston Community Television; Bermuda: Bermuda 
International Film Festival; Canada: The Banff Centre Library; India: 
Foundation for Universal Responsibility; Singapore: Ngee Ann Polytechnic 
Library 

Friends of AIVF: Angela Alston, Desmond Andrews, David Bemis; 
Adrianne Brown Ryan, Carl Canner, Liz Canner, Hugo Cassirer, Paul Devlin, 
Arthur Dong, Aaron Edison, Paul Espinosa, Phoebe Ferguson, Karen 
Freedman, Nicole Guillemet, Peter Gunthel, David Haas, Kyle Henry, Lila 
Jackson, John Kavanaugh, Amelia Kirby, Amie Knox, Stan Konowitz, 
Leonard Kurz, Lyda Kuth, Bart Lawson, Regge Life, William Lyman, Diane 
Markrow, Tracy Mazza, Leonard McClure, Daphne McDuffie-Tucker, Jim 
McKay, Robert Millis, Diane Murphy, Elizabeth Peters, Mimi Pickering, 
David Reynolds, Robert Richter, Hiroto Saito, Larry Sapadin, John B. 
Schwartz, Nat Segaloff, Robert L. Seigel, Esq., Gail Silva, Innes Smolansky, 
Kit-Yin Snyder, Barbara Sostaric, Miriam Stern, George Stoney, Cathy & 
James Sweitzer, Rhonda Leigh Tanzman, Rahdi Taylor, Karl Trappe, Cynthia 
Travis, Jane Wagner, Bart Weiss 



the list 



PBS Moments 

By Jessica McDowell 



Public broadcasting distinguishes itself from commercial television by 

presenting a wide range of original, imaginative, and sometimes risky programming, 

which makes for a highly individualized, personal experience of television 

viewing. This month, The Independent asked members of the public television 

community to recall their most memorable PBS moments and experiences. 



"One of the great things about working with PBS is the 

reach they have. You never know what really smart person 

is watching. For example, ITYS funded a documentary 

about Operation Baby Lift at the end of 

the Vietnam War. A year after it was 

broadcast, we got word from John Savles 

that he had seen the documentary and 

[that] it [had] inspired Casa de los Babys. 

We love to see independent films get 

attention at film festivals and through 

theatrical distribution when possible, 

but with PBS everyone has access. It is the 

ultimate medium for filmmakers who 

want to influence thinking." 

Sally Jo Fifer, president. 
Independent Television Service (ITYS) 

"My most memorable experience watching PBS was in July. 
1991, when PBS aired Marlon Riggs' Tongues Untied. The 
passionate, erotic, poetically-described relationships of 
African-American gay men took my breath away. As soon 
as it was over, I called the station to thank them for having 
the courage to earn' the program." 

Susan Fleishman, executive director, 
Cambridge Community Television (CCTY) 

"Most memorable for me are the PBS programs that fea- 
ture Bill Movers taking on the media. Mr. Movers remains 
a persistent, reasoned, intelligent voice in the maelstrom of 
media mergers, and their deleterious effects on the flow 
and credibility of information in our society. He boldly 
uses the platform of television to challenge the integrity of 
an industry that seems to place the public interest beneath 
its corporate interests." 

Kari Peterson, executive director, 
Davis Communitv Television 




"I grew up in a small, blue collar town in western 
Pennsylvania. The only place I ever saw children who were 
different from me was on Sesame Street. The show opened the 
door to the world for me. I never dreamed 
that I would one day work for public tele- 
vision, but I think I ended up here for the 
same reason I loved watching it as a kid." 
Amy Shumaker, producer, 
South Carolina ETY 



"When I was just out of school (Brooklyn 
College) I had a miserable time finding a 
job in television. A former teacher of 
mine got me an informational interview 
with Bill Baker and I went up to his office 
to meet with him. I had absolutly no idea 
who Bill Baker was and spent the twenty 
minutes admonishing him for the lack of jobs in the indus- 
try! He took it with a smile and told me to keep at it, and 
ten years later I work on New York Voices on Channel 
Thirteen and I see him in the hall all the time. I don't think 
he remembers ... I had a lot more hair back then." 

Matthew Kells, Emmy Award-winning TY producer, 
Spookv Truth Productions 

Wendy Wasserstein's Uncommon Women and Others was an 
inspiration to a fledgling writer. Orlando Bagwell's Ain't 
Scared of Your Jails (Eyes on the Prize first season, 1987), 
edited by Jeanne Jordan, was a reminder of the unmatched 
power of real stories and great on-screen storytellers, 
including an unforgettable Fred Leonard, a veteran of the 
1961 Freedom Rides." 

Sheila Curran Bernard, filmmaker and author. 
Documentary Storytelling 

Jessica McDowell is an intern at The Independent. 



72 The Independent | April 2004 



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SUNDANCE INSTITUTE 

THE PRODUCERS CONFERENCE IS AMAZING; THERE'S NOTHING LIKE IT, IN TYPICAL SUNDANCE FASHION. THEY'VE 
PUT TOGETHER SOMETHING YOU CAN'T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE. I REALLY WISH I COULD HAVE ATTENDED THIS 
CONFERENCE BEFORE I MADE MY FIRST MOVIE." - ROSS KATZ 

Producer, Lost In Translation, In The Bedroom, The Laramie Project 

Elemental Films 



Join other independent producers, directors, and writers for an 
intensive weekend dedicated to exploring issues unique to producing 
independent films. From financing and distribution, to the art of the 
pitch, find the support you need to make it happen. 

^1 Conference highlights include: 

• Panel discussions with top agents, reps, and producers 
experienced in all aspects of independent filmmaking. 

•Screenings of newly completed independent films, along with 
discussions about how it's done. 

• Break-out sessions where you can share ideas and get your 
questions answered in a small group setting. 

• Social gatherings where you'll have the opportunity to talk 
informally with other filmmakers and producers. 

For more details and an application for the 2004 Independent 
Producers Conference, visit us at www.sundance.org 



^ To apply, submit the following 
materials by May 26, 2004: 

• Brief, personal biography 

• One-page description of a 
project you are currently trying 
to produce or get produced. 

• Completed application 



SUNDANCE INSTITUTE 19TH ANNUAL INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS CONFERENCE 



May 2004 | Volume 27 Number 4 | www.aivf.org 



contents 




Features 



SUNDANCE FEELS THE BURN 

Why do filmmakers love to hate this 
go-to festival? 
[by Kyle Minor] 

NETWORKING 101 

Who you know and how you play it can make 
or break your filmmaking career. 
[by Elizabeth Angell] 

DONT WORRY, FILM HAPPY 

A new movement called "Spiritual Cinema" 
is quickly gaining converts. 
[by Muriel Stockdale] 




Photos: The Big City Dick crew after their sold-out 
screening, hosted by Jeff Bridges, at Santa Barbara's 
Victoria Hall: (left to right) Todd Pottinger, Scott Milam, 
Richard Peterson, Jeff Bridges, Ross Shafer, Ken Harder 
(courtesy of New Zev Pictures); Adam Nelson (CEO, 
Workhouse Publicity) networking with actor Seth Green at 
Sundance 2004; "Spiritual" filmmaker Nick Day (in black) 
poses with Maunzio, a member of his crew, and a friendly 
sadhu adorned with yellow paint in honor of Vishnu (Carole 
Harbard). 

Page 5 photos: Aunjanue Ellis (Zora), Daniel Sunjata 
(Langston), and Ray Ford (Wally) in Rodney Evans's Brother 
to Brother (Constanza Mirre); Ken Burns's new documentary 
chronicles world heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, here 
battling Al Kaufmann in 1909 (Gary Phillips Collection); the 
Mondo Video a GoGo store in LA specializes in the obscure 
(Gadi Harel); Bing and Cher in Mayor of the Sunset Strip, 
which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival 2004 (George 
Hickenlooper). 

On the Cover: Rodney Evans at the Sundance 2004 
premiere of his film Brother to Brother, which won the 
festival's Special Jury Prize (Fred Hayes/Wirelmage.com). 



May 2004 | The Independent 3 



LA SHORTS FEST 



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EIGHTH ANNUAL 3 & 

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL 

SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 

Call For Entries, Shorts, Features & Screenplays 
Deadline June 17, 2004 

Submit _: • art LASHORTSFEST.COM ph. 323 S:l-9100 




contents 




Upfront 

7 EDITOR'S LETTER 

FAREWELL FROM THE PUBLISHER 

NEWS The first film sells on eBay; Is Bush's 
government scripting TV?; In fond memory of 
Larry Hall, Sarah Jacobson, and Patrick Wickham. 
[by Cynthia Kane] 

FIRST PERSON The challenge of sustaining a 
profitable business while remaining an artist. 
tby Tracy Heather Strain] 

PROFILE Rodney Evans's Brother to Brother took 
six years to get from drawing board to screen. 
[by Austin Bunn] 

PROFILE Ken Burns pursues artistic integrity 
in his PBS documentaries. 
[by Rebecca Rule] 

FIELD REPORT The indie scene in Los Angeles. 
[by Gadi Harel] 

ON THE SCENE Grassroots Media Conference. 
[by Alyssa Worsham] 

30 FESTIVAL CIRCUIT Austin's SXSW conference 
screens an impressive slate of weird films. 
[by Laura Nathan] 

33 PRODUCTION JOURNAL A director details the trials 
and thrills of making his film, The Devil's Twilight. 
[by Michael I Schiller] 



Departments 



BOOKS Down & Dirty Pictures: Miramax, 
Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film. 
[by Nick Charles] 

4-9 DOC DOCTOR Transitioning to editing; are 
markets and conferences worth the price? 
[by Fernanda Rossi] 

LEGAL Getting the rights to music and sound. 
[by Monique Cormier] 

POLICY How can indies afford health insurance? 
[by Matt Dunne] 

THE LIST If I wasn't a filmmaker, I'd be a . . . 
[by Cynthia Kane] 

Listings 

FESTIVALS 
CLASSIFIEDS 
63 NOTICES 

FILMS/TAPES WANTED 



AIVF 



AIVF NEWS AND EVENTS 
SALONS 



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thelndependent 

■ I FILM & VIDEO MONTHLY 

Publisher: Elizabeth Peters 
(publisher S anrt.org] 

Editor-in-Chief: Rebecca Carroll 

[editor 5 and org] 

Managing Editor: Shana Liebman 
[independent@aitrl.oni) 

Staff Writer: Jason Guerrasio 
[jason@anrt.org] 

Design Director: Suzy Flood 
[suiytlood@hotmail.com] 

Production Associate: Joshua Sanchez 
[jash@aivt.org] 

Editorial Interns: Sonya Fatah. Cynthia Kane, 

Timothy Schmidt 
[editohalintem@anrf.org: notices Saivf.org graphics@aivf.org] 

Contributing Editors: 
Pat Aufderheide. Maud Kersnowski. Bo Mehrad. 
Cara Merles. Robert L Seigel. Esq.. Kate Turtle 

Proofreader: Susan Freel 
[usinsusan@yahoo.com] 

Advertising Director: Laura D. Davis 
(212) 807-1400 x225: [displayads@aivf.org] 

Advertising Representative: Veronica Shea 
(212) 807-1400 x232; [veronica@aiv1.org] 

Classified Advertising: Priscilla Grim 
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: 

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The Independent Rim i VideoMonty (ISSN 1077-8918) is published month- 
ly (except combined issues January/ February and July/August) by the 
Foundation for Independent Video and Rlm (FIVF), a 501(c)(3) dedicated 
to the advancement of media arts and artists Subscription to the maga- 
zine is included in annual membership dues (J55/yr individual: S35/yr stu- 
dent: JlOO/yr nonprofit/school: $150/yr business/industry) paid to the 
Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). the national pro- 
fessional association of individuals involved in moving image media. Library 
subscriptions are $75/yr. Contact: AIVF. 304 Hudson St. 6 fl.. New York. NY 
10013, (212) 807-1400: fax: (212) 463-8519; info@arvf.org. 

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Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 



Publication of any ad in The Independent does not constitute an endorsement 
AIVF/ FIVF are not responsible for any claims made in an ad. All contents are 
copyright of the Foundation for Independent Video and Film, Inc. Reprints 
require written permission and acknowledgement of the article's previous 
appearance in The Independent. The Independent is indexed in the Alternative 
Press Index and is a member of the Independent Press Association. 

AIVF/ FIVF staff: Elizabeth Peters, executive director; Sonia Malta, program 
director; Priscilla Grim, membership director: Bo Mehrad, information serv- 
ices director: Greg Gilpatrick. technology consultant; Sarah Monteagudo. 
Kristy Puchko. Jesse Reding, interns; AIVF/FIVF legal counsel: Robert I. 
Freedman. Esq., Cowan, DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard. 

AIVF Board of Directors: Liz Canner, Anne del Castillo. Doug Hawes-Davis, 
Reggie Life, Michelle Meek, Elizabeth Peters (ex officio). Miriam Stem, 
Simon Tarr. Rahdi Taylor. Elizabeth Thompson. Jim Vincent Bad Weiss. 



c Foundation for Independent Video & Film. Inc. 2004 
Visit The Independent online at: www.aivf.org 



6 The Independent | May 2004 




Editor's 
Letter 

I'm sort of puri- 
tanical when it 
comes to the 
subject of artis- 
tic integrity— 
maybe because 
I learned its 
meaning by 
going without 
Nike sneakers and other must-have 
items that the other kids in school had 
because their parents were doctors and 
pilots and real estate brokers. My par- 
ents were artists. 

I remember asking my dad the defi- 
nition of the word "integrity." He gave 
the following answer: "This is what I 
mean. No kidding." And I remember 
thinking, Well, if what you mean is that 
I can't get a pair of Nike sneakers and 
you're not kidding about that, then 
integrity sucks. 

What he really meant, though, inso- 
far as the quality of our lives then and 
since, is that he and my mother were 
and are committed to their work as 
artists and therefore accept whatever 
level of income that commitment 
results in. 

There is a story about my father and 
a painting he made for my mother. The 
rich acquaintance of a family friend 
came to the house one day, saw the 
painting, and offered a fairly signifi- 
cant chunk of change for it. My father 
declined the offer because he had made 
the painting for my mother and his gift 
to her, the importance of their mutual 
devotion to each other and the art they 
make, was more important than 
money. It's a good thing I only learned 
of this much later on; had I been home 
at the time, I would have thrown in our 
broke-ass car to boot. 

All that is to say, artistic integrity is 
serious business, and finding ways to 
maintain it can be challenging. This 
issue addresses survival, independence, 
and artistic integrity— meaning it, no 
kidding. Two excellent models of 
integrity are profiled: veteran docu- 



mentary maker and out-of-the-fray 
rural New Hampshire resident Ken 
Burns (pg. 22, by Rebecca Rule), and 
Rodney Evans (pg. 19, by Austin 
Bunn), who persisted through six years 
of repeated funding fall-out, among 
other hurdles, to make a film that ulti- 
mately went on to win the Special Jury 
Prize at Sundance this year. 

And what about Sundance? Is it true 
that you've only made it once your film 
has screened at the Redford Shangri-la 
in Park City, Utah? In "Sundance Feels 
the Burn" (pg. 36), Florida writer and 
filmmaker Kyle Minor writes about the 
independent film community's 
love/hate relationship with the grand 
dame of the festival world. 

Frequent contributor Elizabeth 
Angell gives the 411 on making the 
right connections to get your work 
made and out there, while staying true 
to yourself and your vision (pg. 40). 
And just when you thought it was safe 
to stop talking about The Passion comes 
a cinematic movement that may well 
have beat the forthcoming barrage of 
religious and spiritual themed films to 
the punch. Muriel Stockdale writes 
about "Spiritual Cinema" in "Don't 
Worry, Film Happy" (pg. 44). 

Two new columns are introduced in 
this issue— Production Journal, a first- 
person narrative about the making of a 
film. And On the Scene, which will 
cover a recent independent film or 
media arts event with immediate rami- 
fications for the independent commu- 
nity. If you have ideas for either new 
column, please email me at: 
editor@aivf.org. 

And finally, a fond farewell to 
Elizabeth Peters, who left us in April 
after five years as both the publisher of 
The Independent and Executive Director 
of ATVF. She leaves behind a legacy of 
great faith and passion for independent 
media arts, and she will be missed. 

Enjoy, and thanks for reading 
The Independent, 
Rebecca Carroll 
Editor-in-Chief 



Reliable, 
Global, 
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Coveraae! 




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you will receive 24/7 access to 
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To take advantage of this offer 
log on to: www.subnow.com/ 
wv/membership and click on 
AIVF or call: 

1-866-MY VARIETY 

and mention The Independent. 

(new subscriptions only) 



May 2004 | The Independent 7 





Need an audience? 

Here is a tool to help: - 

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Order online at 
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(212)807-1400x303. 



Publisher's Farewell 

Dear AIVF members 
and Independent readers, 

Many of you already know that I 
have stepped down from my position 
as Executive Director of AIVF. The 
ATVT board has contracted filmmaker 
(and former AIVF board member) 
Benvenida Marias to act as interim 
director while they continue their 
search for my replacement; I plan to 
return to the wonderful world of mak- 
ing media. 

I'm going to use my "publisher's pre- 
rogative" to spend a little ink reflecting 
on how much AIVF has grown over the 
past five years. Highlights include 
increasing our support of members 
through establishing an Information 
Services help desk; publishing three 
important reference books for produc- 
ers undertaking outreach and self-dis- 
tribution (as well as overhauling our 
Festival and Distributor's Guides); and 
really building out the potential of our 
web resource by adding interactive 
directories and all sorts of resource 
pages. In 2001 we created our monthly 
email bulletin SPLICE!, which now has 
over 9,000 subscribers and provides a 
great way to stay in touch with our 
members. 

On the programming side, many 
generous people have partnered with 
AIVF to present workshop series geared 
to the working independent. And our 
advocacy work has had a very real 
impact on today's media landscape, 
through partnerships that have helped 
garner achievements ranging from 
securing bandwidth on satellite net- 
works to allowing the public to com- 
ment on rules affecting media owner- 
ship concentration. 

When I arrived at AIVF (fresh from 
Texas), not a single staff member was a 
native New Yorker, and during my 
tenure we've worked hard to recognize 
and support the legions of independ- 
ents working in smaller communities. 
In partnership with NAMAC, AIVF was 
able to visit ten communities across 
the country and learn more about 




their unique 
character and 
strategies for 
survival. The 
Independent's 
"Field Report" 
column has 

extended this project by continuing to 
spotlight a wide variety of media com- 
munities. 

If you've been reading The Independent 
for any length of time you already know 
how much it has grown, now with more 
pages and new columns such as Site 
Seeing, Documentary Doctor, and 
Production Journal. Editor Rebecca 
Carroll is a gem. 

An achievement that I am particular- 
ly proud of is having built a strong and 
stable engine to drive all these pro- 
grams. Retooling ATVF's internal oper- 
ations (as well as its corporate struc- 
ture) was not glamorous, but it has 
allowed us to weather particularly chal- 
lenging times over the past few years. 
Our financial operations are clean and 
transparent; we've changed our staff 
structure and now have "manuals" for 
the various positions; and the board 
has rewritten the organization's out-of- 
date bylaws and is now concentrating 
on maturing its governance model. 

One of my favorite film credit 
sequences comes at the head of Jim 
McKay's Our Song, when the title "A 
Film By" is followed by a screen 
crammed with the names of every per- 
son who collaborated on the produc- 
tion. This is so true to the spirit of how 
independent films are made, and it's 
true to how all these things have hap- 
pened at ATVF while I have had the 
privilege (and the pain) of sitting in the 
corner office. I would need pages to list 
all the props that are due. Please con- 
sider them bestowed! Thanks to all the 
staff and board who have sustained 
AIVF, and most importantly, to the 
members whose dogged perseverance 
daily reminds us of why we work this 
hard. 

Yours in interdependence, 
Elizabeth Peters 




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INT. A BASEMENT APARTMENT 
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A filmmaker opens a copy of 
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The filmmaker thinks it would 
be cool to go, then notices an 
article about another independent 
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FILMMAKER 

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The eBay Way 

FIRST FILM IS DISTRIBUTED VIA ONLINE BIDDING 
By Cynthia Kane 





ow you can bid on eBay 
for more then your 
favorite DVD— you can 
bid on global film rights 
to an independent feature without 
distribution. This unconventional yet 
seemingly effective way to reach out to 
global distributors has proved posi- 
tive for first time filmmakers Alex 
D'Lerma and Vince Lozano. By auc- 
tioning distribution rights on eBay to 
their debut feature, Alvarez & Cruz, 
D'Lerma and Lozano reached out to a 
broader group, both demographically 
and geographically, than they could 
have with a more traditional method. 
This fresh, if slightly suspect, idea 
benefits both buyers and sellers. 
Buyers get involved in the film distri- 
bution game while foregoing the 
spending costs of traveling out of 
state, while sellers extend their reach 
to a larger volume of potential buyers 
independent of the American film 
market. 

The bidding on D'Lerma and 

Vince Lozano as Jojo Cruz in Alvarez & 
Cruz. 



Lozano's film started February 25, 
2004 at $15,000 and ended on March 
06, 2004 without going any higher in 
price. "Four distribution companies 
showed interest in the film and spoke 
with us after hearing of the opening 
bid on eBay, but refused to bid openly 
online," says D'Lerma, a former Los 
Angeles radio DJ, actor, and writer, 
whose transition to filmmaker began 
with this film. "Three of the four 
companies either suggested we pull 
the listing off eBay and accept a (high- 
er) private bid than the opening mini- 
mum $15,000 bid, or simply not 
accept payment at the end of the auc- 
tion and negotiate a higher bid pri- 
vately." 

Instead, the filmmakers chose to 
stay true to their original intent (and 
eBay policy)— to sell the global rights 
to Alvarez & Cruz to the highest eBay 
bidder. 

The production and sale of Alvarez 
& Cruz, say the filmmakers turned 
eBay auctioneers, was inspired by the 
do-it-yourself style of Latino/ 
American filmmaker Robert 



Rodriguez, whose critically acclaimed 
debut feature. El Mariachi, was made 
with a borrowed camera, no crew, and 
a budget that came, in part, from sub- 
jecting himself to medical experimen- 
tation. 

Alvarez & Cruz is an eighty-eight- 
minute English-language crime 
drama that explores the relationships 
between two Latino renegades, Ricky 
Alvarez (Alex D'Lerma) and Jojo Cruz 
(Vince Lozano), and their deadbeat 
fathers. Drawn together by similar life 
circumstances (both were abandoned 
during childhood), Alvarez and Cruz 
highjack cars, sweet talk women and 
pull off insurance scams. Soon their 
fathers re-enter their lives causing 
years of pain and resentment to resur- 
face. "Vince and I were fed up with the 
lack of Latino leading roles in 
Hollywood so our solution was to cre- 
ate those roles in Alvarez & Cruz" says 
D'Lerma. "We wanted the audience 
members, regardless of their racial or 
cultural backgrounds, to be touched 
by the father/son conflict, which is 
semi-autobiographical." 

Since 1999, the film has screened at 
numerous film festivals, and in 
December 2003, an original score by 
noted German film composer Tom 
Batoy of Mona Davis Music/Los 
Angeles was added. 

It is too soon to tell if other film- 
makers will follow the lead of 
D'Lerma and Lozano. Nevertheless, a 
seed has been planted. Or, more aptly, 
a bid made. 

View a trailer at www.vincelozano.com. 

Government 
Scripted News 

The general populous is familiar with 
movies and videos made for television, 
but what about scripted video clips 
made for television news? It has come 
to the attention of federal investiga- 
tors that the Bush administration pre- 
pared "story packages" to applaud the 
benefits of the new Medicare law for 
the elderly, and paid people to act as 



May 2004 | The Independent 11 



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journalists for news segments. 
Intended for local news broadcasts, 
several videos show Bush being show- 
ered with cheers while signing the new 
Medicare Law. 

The Department of Health and 
Human Services produced the video 
news releases, but have not identified 
the source who commissioned them. 
The materials were discovered last 
month while lawyers from the General 
Accounting Office were investigating 
the government's use of federal 
money for Medicare advertising pur- 
poses. All findings proved legal, but 



the General Accounting Office found 
that federal agencies violated laws in 
the past by scattering government 
scripted articles and commentary 
without identifying a source. Not 
revealing the source of these new 
Medicare videos could lead to a viola- 
tion of federal agency laws. 

In the 1980's, major budget cuts 
limited stations' capacity to gather 
information for news segments, and 
forced stations to rely on pre-pack- 
aged news bites from outside 
sources. Although the need for com- 
pelling news is the same today as it 



was in the 80's, is it fair that the media 
and the government are misleading 
viewers by using scripted segments as 
real news? In a New York Times article 
that appeared in March, Bill Kovach, 
chairman of the Committee of 
Concerned Journalists, expressed the 
following views on that particular 
question: "[The videos] to me are just 
the next thing to fraud," Kovach said. 
"It's running a paid advertisement in 
the heart of a news program." D 



Cynthia Kane is an intern at 
The Independent. 



In Fond Memory 

The Independent is sad to report the passing of three very 
important individuals in the independent film communi- 
ty: Larry Hall, Sarah Jacobson, Stephen Wickham, all of 
whom died in February after long battles with cancer. 

Larry Hall passed away on February 2, after living with 
lymphoma for two years. Independent Television Service 
(ITVS) would not be here today without Hall's efforts: 
Hall, along with Larry Sapadin and Larry Daressa, lob- 
bied Congress and the Corporation for Public 
Broadcasting for the creation of a public television serv- 
ice for independent producers, which was chartered in 
1988. 

As a media advocate, Larry continued to contribute 
towards supporting and enriching public television. 
"More than anyone else, ITVS owes its existence to Larry 
Hall," says Daressa. "A tireless fighter for the underdog 
and free speech, his persistence and intuitive understand- 
ing of the Congressional process 
made possible the minor legisla- 
tive miracle which is ITVS." 

For more about Larry Hall and his contri- 
butions to the Media Community visit 
www.itvs.org. 

Sarah Jacobson, an AIVF mem- 
ber, directed the 1997 Sundance 
entry Mary Jane's Not a Virgin 
Anymore, which won acclaim at 
many festivals around the globe. 
Jacobson went on to self-distribute 




the film (in partnership with her mother) sharing details of 
her national tour through a series of email dispatches. An 
ever-present voice in the community, Jacobson was also an 
instructor at The New School. In a bid to raise funds 
towards her medical care, Jacobson had curated a benefit 
screening of her work at Two Boots Pioneer Theater. The 
program, which screened after her passing, was also fea- 
tured at the New York Underground Film Festival in 
March. 

A community bulletin board has been set up (at www.amazing 
forums.com/forum2/SARAHJACOB/forum.html) for those who knew 
her to share their memories. The comments will be passed on to her 
partner and family. 

Patrick Wickham was the Director of Contract Policy & 
Digital Initiatives and a 
former director of pro- 
duction at ITVS. He had 
been on staff at ITVS for 
thirteen years, joining the 
organization shortly after 
it was founded in St. Paul, 
Minnesota in 1991. 
Wickham is survived by 
his wife Kristi Highum; 
his mother, Virginia Wickham, 
Elizabeth Carfora of Glen Ellyn, Illinois; and by his 
brother-in-law Paul Byrne and niece Joanna Byrne of 
Chicago, Illinois. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Heifer Foundation at 
800-422-0474 (www.heifer.org), or to Kids in Development Society 
at 415-885-0660. 




and his grandmother, 



May 2004 | The Independent 13 



r 



Behind the Scenes 



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first person 



Survival Instincts 

ONE FILMMAKER'S STRUGGLE TO GO SOLO 
By Tracy Heather Strain 



A 



few months ago, the 
Boston Film/Video 

Foundation closed its 
doors after serving the 
independent film community in New 
England for twenty-eight years. It was 
the first place I took a video class, 
secured fiscal sponsorship, and gained 
an ally for a documentary project that 
at the time had few supporters. BF/VF 
was one of the earliest places I found a 
base for my independent goals, and I 
volunteered there by serving on com- 
mittees and supporting events. The 
farewell message on its website 
explains that, "the continuing down- 
turn in funding for the arts, adversely 
affecting non-profit arts organization 
across the nation, had an especially 
negative effect on BF/VF." 

The closing of BF/VF got me think- 
ing about how over the past several 
years I have watched several promi- 
nent media organizations and pro- 
duction companies close because of 
issues related to funding— organiza- 
tions and companies that provided 
support, training, and employment 
for a diverse group of independent 
and freelance filmmakers. Certainly, 
the declining cost of tools to capture 
and edit images has made filmmaking 
more affordable, but the necessities of 
life continue to rise in cost, and com- 
pared to other artistic disciplines, 
making films and videos is still expen- 
sive. The closing of BF/VF also got me 
thinking about the direction of my 
own career. 

Like other producer/directors, my 
training is in making films and keep- 
ing them on budget, not sustaining a 
business over time. How do we as 
artists balance our desire to tell stories 

Filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain. 



with our need to survive as viable busi- 
nesses so that we can tell our stories? 
Last year, quite unexpectedly (though 
after working as a producer for seven- 
teen years), I got a few small commis- 
sions, entered into a co-production 
agreement for a historical documen- 




tary, and signed a commercial lease 
for an office space I share with four 
other filmmakers and their produc- 
tions. I feel blessed with the turn of 
events, but since then, I've been sign- 
ing a lot of invoices, credit applica- 
tions, legal documents, and especially 
checks. Suddenly, not only do I have a 
film to produce, I have the added 
responsibilities of running a small 
business and office that sometimes 
has in it as many as a dozen people. 
Due to issues of privacy and access to 
personal information, it has been dif- 
ficult for me to delegate certain tasks. 
I would, of course, like to begin devel- 
oping my next project, but lately it 
feels like there just aren't any more 
hours left in my day. 



I feel like I've bought into what I 
would describe as a mix of the 
American myth of rugged individual- 
ism, the romance of the auteur, and 
the single woman's superwoman syn- 
drome. When I look back at my 
experiences working as a freelance 
producer, I realize that I had no idea 
how much time each company spent 
on basics like writing checks and pro- 
cessing expense reports. To say noth- 
ing of the efforts it took for the com- 
pany to raise the money for my salary. 

Henry Hampton, the founder and 
executive producer of Blackside, was a 
strong supporter of BF/VF, and in 
1996, the organization honored him 
with its Vision Award. It was at that 
BF/VF ceremony when I first learned 
that he had mortgaged his house in 
order to meet the payroll, and so that 
he could keep the six-episode produc- 
tion of Eyes on the Prize: America 's Civil 
Rights Years moving forward. 

It was surprising to hear that Henry 
had faced a barrage of rejection from 
funders, and had subsequently put his 
own home on the line to finish the 
series. Eyes premiered in 1987 as a 
groundbreaking series on PBS and 
went on to win a great many awards 
and citations. For me, someone who 
has been working in the industry for 
all of my adult life, but is only now 
starting out truly on my own, the 
story serves as a reminder that surviv- 
ing as an independent was difficult in 
the past and continues to be so for 
most people now. 

At that BF/VF ceremony in 1996, 
Henry Hampton had made it a point 
to recognize that he didn't produce 
Eyes on the Prize alone. It was a point 
I came to understand even better 
when I went to work at Blackside 
years later. During my time there, 
the company employed full-time 
executives in development, market- 
ing, publishing, and new media, as 
well as an accountant, bookkeeper, 
receptionist, Henry's assistant, and a 
part-time office assistant, in addi- 
tion to the production teams, senior 



May 2004 | The Independent 15 




producers, and interns. Since leaving 
Blackside, I have tried to juggle many 
of these jobs by myself, and that has 
been a mistake. 

As I look back at 2003. and think of 
all of the time I spent on administra- 
tive, managerial, financial, and opera- 
tional activities, it has dawned on me 
that filmmakers talk about making 
their films, but rarely discuss how 
they run their small filmmaking busi- 
nesses to get those films made. I can 
readily learn the pitfalls of shooting 
with one video format versus another, 
and I know where to go for informa- 
tion about grant writing, because 
filmmakers share that type of infor- 
mation. Trade publications, including 
this one, have inspired me as I read 
about filmmakers who consistently 
found ways to produce their docu- 
mentary films independent!}'. But 
how do we run our businesses? 

Where do I find the stories about 
how filmmakers actually organize 
their time and divide the labor within 
their organizations to get things 
done? Most articles I read usually 
gloss over the details of the business 
operations side of the equation. When 
I have a chance to get together with 
my friends who are documentary 
filmmakers, the conversation invari- 
ably turns to money. One discussion 
gets into the challenge of giving the 
more-than-one-hundred percent it 
takes to produce, write, and direct 
films initiated by other people, and 
finding a way to successfully develop 
our own ideas. Like many of my col- 
leagues. I rarely find myself working 
on mv own documentary project, and 
it has been that way for years. 

The long-term freelance work I 
landed at production companies like 
Blackside was meaningful, challeng- 
ing, and inspiring. The jobs increased 
my technical know-how, improved my 
storytelling abilities, and expanded 
my knowledge of the world. And prac- 
tically speaking, gratefully allowed me 
to pay my bills. But the days at 
Blackside were full, demanding, and 



16 The Independent | May 2004 



long. The amount of preparation 
required to meet the standards that 
Henry had set for producers meant 
that you knew the history you were 
presenting well enough to write a doc- 
toral dissertation and successfully 
defend it at an oral exam. When I 
finally got home each night, I was 
completely worn out. I had nothing 



with those of Stephen Covey's Seven 
Habits of Highly Effective People, and 
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. 
These and Tharp's book got me 
thinking about the unmanaged 
chaos of my own life, and made me 
realize that I needed to make some 
changes. I have often talked about 
my desire to work on my own project, 



I have been fortunate to find producing 

jobs when I need them, but then the cycle 

repeated itself again and again for years. 

"You haven't made that film, yet?" 

people would ask in a tone that really meant, 

"What's taking you so long?" 



left for my own project most days, but 
that was okay, because I was growing 
as a filmmaker, and producing work 
that brought important issues about 
America's past to the public. 

After each project ended, I returned 
to my own film. Because I had been so 
immersed in other topics, it was prac- 
tically like starting from scratch each 
time. By the time I'd make a little 
headway, my money was running thin, 
and I had to find something to do to 
pay my bills. I have been fortunate to 
find producing jobs when I need 
them, but then the cycle repeated 
itself again and again for years. "You 
haven't made that film, yet?" people 
would ask in a tone that really meant, 
"What's taking you so long?" 

As a Christmas gift one year, I was 
given Twyla Tharp's book, The 
Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For 
Life, a Practical Guide. I was impressed 
by Tharp's commitment to her daily 
routine— in a career that spans over 
forty years, the sixty-two-year-old 
dancer/choreographer has created 
over 125 original dances. Tharp con- 
tends that creativity is less about 
genius and more about disciplined 
work habits. Her message, though 
clearly different in ways, is consistent 



but I was not fully committing 
myself to it. In his book, Film & Video 
Financing, Michael Wiese describes 
commitment as "perhaps the most 
important quality to possess" in 
making films, because the process is 
typically so long and difficult. 

I decided to commit to my project 
in a number of ways, and have made 
some resolutions to make actual 
progress. These include finding a 
dependable partner to work with, del- 
egating as much as I can afford, and 
making and keeping a regular 
appointment with myself to work on 
the project. In addition, I am putting 
out feelers about a free gathering of 
local filmmakers to share tips about 
how they manage their projects and 
companies, because being disciplined 
is no substitute for knowledge, and I 
plan to approach a couple of organi- 
zations about getting involved in a co- 
sponsorship capacity. It is the kind of 
event that a few years ago I would have 
picked up the phone and called on 
BF/VF for help. D 

Tracy Heather Strain is a Boston based 

independent producer. She is the owner of 

Diner Media, and manager of The Film Posse, 

an office space for independent filmmakers. 



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Rodney Evans 

BRINGING BACK THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE 
By Austin Bunn 



In che Flying Saucer cafe in 
Brooklyn, New York, Rodney 
Evans settles into the same chair 
he sat in to storyboard almost 
the entirety of his first feature, Brother 
to Brother. "I can't draw," explains 
Evans, "so I would sketch out these 
stick figures in a spiral-bound note- 
book, and then a friend of mine who 
is an artist made them look 
like people. The process took 
me two years." 

If the mood this morning 
feels nostalgic, Evans has 
proved himself a bit of a con- 
noisseur of the feeling. Brother 
to Brother, a bittersweet paean 
to an overlooked hero of the 
Harlem Renaissance, won a 
Special Jury Prize at Sundance 
2004 for "passion in filmmak- 
ing" with its blend of archival 
footage, lush (and low budget) 
period recreations, and spirit- 
ed contemporary sexual poli- 
tics. It's a film suffused with 
admiration and yearning, and 
the prize was aptly named. "A 
film like this gets made 
because people are passionate 
about the material and they're 
willing to work for less," says 
Evans. Much less. 

While in many ways the cre- 
ation of Brother to Brother may follow 
the familiar indie trajectory of scrappy 
ambition and resilience in the face of 
innumerable hurdles, Evans at least 
had one enormous, free asset: the 
legacy of an artist community that has 
rarely been brought to life on screen. 
The Harlem Renaissance gave Evans 
personalities to burn. With such rich 
roles— black literary luminaries like 



Rodney Evans wrote and directed 
Brother to Brother. 



Langston Hughes, Zora Neale 
Hurston, and Wallace Thurman— the 
film's stellar cast of theatrically- 
trained black actors worked for $100 a 
day when "normally they'd make three 
times that," says Evans. He shot the 
film in two parts, fashioning a trailer 
out of the first bits of filming in order 
to secure financing for the rest. (They 




shot the remainder a year later.) Evans 
won't reveal the exact budget because, 
he says, "when you attach a figure to 
your film, that automatically lets a 
distributor know what's reasonable to 
pay for it." Suffice it to say the budget 
was low, he concedes, "but people will 
make sacrifices when they believe." 

Brother to Brother follows Perry 
(Anthony Mackie), a gay college stu- 
dent and painter, struggling to make 
sense of a burgeoning romance with a 



straight, white friend. When he meets 
Bruce Nugent (Roger Robinson), the 
last living member of a group of 
Harlem Renaissance rebels, he's drawn 
increasingly into Bruce's memories of 
the sexual adventures of the black 
avant-garde at "Niggeratti Manor," a 
Harlem brownstone that served as the 
smoky, raucous meeting spot for 
Hughes, Thurman, and Hurston amid 
the roaring twenties. Jumping back 
and forth in time, the film draws 
evocative parallels between Perry's 
emergent identity and Bruce's own 
role in a bygone, artistic revolution. 
For the past decade, Evans has been 
angling up to Brother to 
Brothers tricky exploration of 
sexual politics by producing a 
handful of autobiographical, 
experimental shorts on 16mm. 
His first, Mirage, examined the 
perfect body-culture in the gay 
male consciousness. Later, as 
an assistant editor on Gummo 
and with Upright Citizen's 
Brigade on Comedy Central, 
Evans became intrigued with 
tiny, buttonhole cameras that 
had been used on both produc- 
tions. "I kept thinking, 'What if 
you used these hidden cameras 
to get at something more soci- 
ological?'" says Evans. "There's 
so much you can gather from 
people's outlooks just from 
their gestures, particularly 
when they are not aware that 
they are being filmed." 

For Two Encounters (distrib- 
uted by Frameline), Evans and 
a white friend strapped on hidden 
cameras and ventured into, respective- 
ly, a white gay bar and a black gay bar 
to see how the men would react to 
their ethnicity. "I wanted to know 
what it felt like to be the one black 
person in a super Chelsea-fied gay bar 
like G, or the one white guy in a black 
bar like Chi Chis on Christopher 
Street," he says. 

His most autobiographical short. 
Close to Home, became poignant (and 



May 2004 | The Independent 19 



literal) source material for Brother to 
Brother. It threads together two narra- 
tives— a reflection about his coming 
out to his conservative, Jamaican par- 
ents braided with verite moments 
from his breakup with a Latino (and 




straight) boyfriend. "I'd gotten this 
camera from this mentoring program 
at Film and Video Arts, and my 
boyfriend was really fascinated bv it." 
Evan says. "So at one point he was 
filming me and said. 'What is your 
problem?' And I told him, 'You really 
want to know?' And this monologue 
just came out of me." 

When Evans took the film to festi- 
vals, someone asked him if he'd ever 
thought of expanding the break-up 
segment, staging it with actors and 
writing dialog. "The idea intrigued 
me," Evans says. "And I thought. What 
would it be like if I lived in a different 
era? And that lead me to the 
Schomburg Center in Harlem. It's 
dedicated to black culture. And I 
found this interview tape of Bruce 
Nugent that was mesmerizing, 
because he mixed this scholarly intelli- 
gence with a street sa\"\y that you 
never see combined in one person. He 
was like Cornel West meets Quentin 
Crisp meets . . . me." 

After that initial encounter, Evans 
sought out the executor of Nugent's 
estate (the poet and painter died in 
1987), who gave Evans thirty more 
hours of interview tape, and showed 
him some of Nugent's artwork. "I'd 



always found myself attracted to this 
subset within the Harlem Renaissance 
that was this more rebellious, younger 
generation— Zora and Langston and 
Bruce," Evans says. "The executor told 
me that, near the end of his life Bruce 
used to live ille- 
gally in an art stu- 
dio on Nassau 
Street so that he 
had to break in 
every weekend. 
And then I 
thought. What 
would happen to 
him on the week- 
ends he couldn't 
get in?" 

In the script. 
Perry meets Bruce 
at a homeless 
shelter where he works, and from that 
spark, Evans weaves together his two 
stories about two artists in search of 
community. "I wanted to make a film 
about the friendship between these 
two people of different generations, 
and to incorporate all the greatness of 
the Harlem Renaissance," says Evans. 
"And the break-up scene that's in 
there, that monologue is taken 
di recth' from Close to Home." 

The Brother to Brother script took 
two vears of writing, research, and 
escapes to writing colonies to com- 
plete. "It was reallv daunting to put 
words into Langston and Zora's 
mouths," he says. "Part of the trouble 
for me was thinking. Who the fuck do 
I think I am to do 
this?" He developed 
the script to the 
point where he felt 
he could approach 
grant foundations, 
and then, with sup- 
port money from 
the New York State 
Council on the Arts 
and the Jerome 
Foundation. Evans 
set up a string of 
artist's colonies and 



"disappeared for a year." In 2000, the 
script won the Independent Feature 
Project's Gordon Parks Award for 
Screenwriting, the signal to Evans 
that he was read}' to shoot. 

Not surprisingly, casting an explic- 
itly black and gay film proved to be 
one of the major challenges. "I went to 
see every off-Broadway show with 
black actors in it for a year," says 
Evans. "I had this huge list of 100 peo- 
ple." But because the lead was a gay 
part, man}' black actors wouldn't even 
read the script. While Ang Lee might 
be able to lure Jake Gyllenhaal and 
Heath Ledger to play gay cowboys in 
his forthcoming project Brokeback 
Mountain, "it's a little more complicat- 
ed for young black actors because of 
the hip-hop machismo mentality," 
says Evans. "If you have a guy's tongue 
in your mouth, you can't go back to 
your hood and get respect." 

Then Evans read a Variety review of 
"Up Against the Wind," a play about 
Tupac Shakur that spotlit the work of 
a new. young actor named Anthony 
Mackie. Evans was able to track 
Mackie down after a Julliard show- 
case. "At the time I was thinking of 
him for the part of Marcus, the friend 
[and a supporting role]. He took [the 
script] and called back a couple of 
weeks later to say, 'I'm really into it, 
but I onlv want to come in and read 
for Perry.'" It was the most interesting, 
complex part in the script and Mackie 
wanted to fight for it. "He said, 'If 
there is personal shit that I need to 




20 The Independent | May 2004 



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deal with to do a gay part, well that 
only hones my craft,"' Evans remem- 
bers. "So many actors are in it for ego 
reasons. When he told me that, it just 
really separated him out." 

With the cast in place, Evans filmed 
the first "chunk" in one week during 
the fall of 2001. "We couldn't do the 
period stuff because all the costumes 
and design would take all the money we 
had," says Evans. "So I really focused on 
the contemporary material and a cou- 
ple of key period scenes that didn't need 
a lot of design elements." Fortunately, 
Harlem worked in his favor. "So much 
of that part of the city hasn't changed, 
so we just shot up against the brown- 
stones and put a long cigarette holder 
in Zora's hand and suddenly it's 
Harlem back in the day," Evans says. 

Evans edited that footage into a 
sample reel and sent it to 100 produc- 
ers and cable channels to raise the rest 
of the budget. The Gay Men of 
African Descent, a community-based 
group in Harlem, organized a screen- 
ing and benefit in conjunction with 
Lincoln Center. "That allowed us to 
reach a lot of people in the black gay 
community who were excited about 
the material," says Evans, "and were 
willing to write checks." ITVS ulti- 
mately came on board, as did the 
National Black Programming 
Consortium. A year later, he called up 
the cast and said, "We're ready to fin- 
ish the movie." 

Given the limited budget, Evans 
considered making the film on digital, 
but because the story was so suffused 
with period elements, he didn't feel 
audiences would buy the recreations if 
they looked too "docu-home-movie." 
"The question becomes, How do you 
create that world with no money? It's 
not an option to fill a street in Harlem 
with period cars," says Evans. "But if 
all that footage exists already why not 
blend it into what you can do?" Evans 



Facing page: (top) Aunjanue Ellis 
(Zora) and (bottom) Anthony Mackie 
(Perry) in Brother to Brother. 



and his cinematographer Harlan 
Bosmajian (Lovely and Amazing) 
looked for inspiration in the movies of 
Oscar Micheaux, widely recognized as 
the first black independent filmmaker 
in America, and then found black and 
white archival footage to license and 
fold into the contemporary material 
they shot themselves. Evans, having 
worked as an editor for years, makes 
the linking seamless. 

Once the film was finished— and 
accepted to Sundance— Evans hired 
acquisitions vet Steven Raphael, for- 
merly of USA Films, as a sales rep to 
get distributors into screenings and 
to conduct follow-up detail. "He just 
got the film," says Evans. "It spoke 
to him, and he was really honest 
about its strengths and weaknesses. 
Because he comes from a marketing 
background— he was head of mar- 
keting for American Splendor and 
other HBO films that are coming 
out theatrically— he knew how we 
could sell it." 

Using a sales rep has become a stan- 
dard part of going to Sundance. 
"There are like four people who repre- 
sent everything. Like John Sloss and 
Cinetic, who had twelve projects [at 
Sundance]," Evans says. "You have to 
decide whether you want to be the 
least important priority on a slate like 
that, or if you want to go with some- 
one smaller who has two or three 
films. Steven had a huge job and he 
was phenomenal. We've got four the- 
atrical offers and we're still sussing 
those out." 

It took six years for Brother to Brother 
to go from the Flying Saucer to its 
first broad screening. And, though 
Evans is still negotiating the distribu- 
tion, he hopes the film will debut in 
theaters this fall. "There was talk of us 
as a summer tent pole to go up against 
Spiderman 2, but ..." says Evans. 
"Somehow, I don't think so." D 



Austin Bunn is a New York based 

writer andfirquent contributor to 

The New York Times Magazine 



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May 2004 | The Independent 21 



profile 



Going for the Burn 

KEN BURNS REACHES FOR ARTISTIC INTEGRITY 
By Rebecca Rule 



When Ken Burns 
received the Inter- 
national Docu-men- 
tary Association's 
Career Achievement Award in 2002, 
IDA President Michael Donaldson 
said: "Some people will say Ken Burns 
is at a very early stage of his career to 
receive this recognition, and we agree 
that some of his best work is ahead of 
him. But, he has already compiled an 
extraordinary body of work that is cer- 
tain to stand the test of time. Ken Burns 
has defied the odds and has succeeded 
with his integrity intact, and that in 



about the building of the Brooklyn 
Bridge in New York City, was nomi- 
nated for an Academy Award in 1981. 
His early success helped in establish- 
ing his long association with public 
television, a "lucky accident," he says. 
that has since virtually shaped his 
career. Apart from the Brooklyn 
Bridge. Burns' other documentary 
subjects include Huey Long, the 
Shakers, Lewis and Clark, Thomas 
Jefferson, jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright, 
Mark Twain, Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, 
and, of course, the Civil War. In 




itself makes him a source of hope and 
inspiration for even' aspiring documen- 
tary filmmaker." 

A descendant of the Scottish poet 
Robert Burns, the Brooklyn-born Ken 
Burns has been making documen- 
taries for over twenty-five years. His 
first documentary, Brooklyn Bridge, 



1990, Burns' celebrated nine-part doc- 
umentary series The Civil War won two 
Emmvs. two Grammys, and earned 
Burns the Producer of the Year Award 
from the Producer's Guild. The series 
also attracted the largest PBS audi- 
ence viewership ever. Burns' other 
awards include the Peabodv Award for 



Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Television 
Critics Award for Outstanding 
Achievement in Sports and Special 
Programming for Baseball. 

Amid all the awards and recogni- 
tion, though, Burns continues to 
focus his work on the big story of who 
we are and how we are— he paints on 
the broad canvas of American history 
and cares how the finished painting is 
unveiled. "More Americans get their 
history from Ken Burns than from 
anv other source," according to the 
historian Stephen Ambrose. In 2003, 
when Burns was named an honorary 




Jack Johnson * 
Cfairttp/0ff 

Haw;. - 
of ttx 



fhctoty 



Doctor of Humanities by Howard 
University, the official citation praised 
his "unparalleled approach to chal- 
lenging the 'attention span' of 
American viewers," and for winning 
over critics who "doubted viewers 
would sit for hours immersed in his- 
torical exploration about the human 
condition, life, and emotions." 

Burns attributes the success of his 
career to an ongoing and steadfast 
belief in what he does and who he is as 
an independent filmmaker, and this 
specificallv is where his artistic integri- 

The first African American heavyweight 
boxing champion Jack Johnson is the 
subject of Burns's new film. 



22 The Independent | May 2004 



ty— "absolutely critical to my own self- 
esteem as an artist"— is rooted. Burns 
says there are three important factors 
that allow him to do his work the best 
way he knows how, starting with his 
relationship with PBS, who Burns 
remains loyal to despite, he says, "other 
very generous offers." While Burns cer- 
tainly recognizes the advantage of his 
work being presented on public televi- 
sion without commercial interruption 
and influence, he is quick to fine tune 
what he means by that. "I do have 
underwriters," he says, "but there is a 
strong wall that blocks their ability to 
affect content." In fact, Burns contends, 
"Not once in twenty-five years has any 
underwriter attempted to affect [my] 
content." The next factor is the talent 
Burns chooses to work with— the writ- 
ers, editors, and cinematographers. 
"These are the people who have, in the 
end, made me look good." 

And the final factor is geography. "I 
live in New Hampshire," Burns says 
with conviction. The choice to live in 
Walpole, New Hampshire, population 
approximately 3600, has been critical 
to his work. "I made a decision twen- 
ty-five years ago to sacrifice some- 
thing that I still miss desperately, the 
society of my colleagues, for the abili- 
ty to work in solitude, free of distrac- 
tions." Working in Walpole, he says, 
"permits us to focus entirely on what 
makes a better film." 

Making a better film involves deci- 
sions that are driven by content, and 
though compromise is essential to the 
nitty-gritty of getting the work done, 
there is no room for compromise when 
it comes to the "central vision" of a 
project. "Integrity," says Burns, "has to 
do with every decision you make." And 
to Burns, integrity means refusing to 
be driven by "external pressures, the 
desire to please an audience, money . . . 
the opinions of your colleagues. None 
of that matters. All that matters is what 
makes the work better." 

When Burns talks about integrity, he 
speaks with a passion and an intensity 
that makes it clear the subject is one he 




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has thought about deeply. "I have lots 
of friends whose work I admire who 
will admit that for this particular film 
or that particular film the studio reed- 
ited or chose a different actor," or in 
some way or another tainted or dimin- 
ished the final product. "I have never 
had to make an excuse like that. Do 
you understand what I mean?" he asks. 
"I never want to stand before you and 
make an excuse of the kind filmmakers 
make continually: if we'd only had 
more time, if we'd only had different 
actors, if we'd only—" 

No excuses. That, he says, is the 
essence of integrity. "If you don't like 
it. it's all my fault." 

Has he ever thought about doing 
something crazy? Something entirelv 
different from the documentaries on 
which he has built his career and repu- 
tation? Cartoons perhaps? Romantic 
comedy? Of course, this 
is a backdoor approach 
to the more pointed 
question: "Do vou ever 
feel trapped by the for- 
mula and direction of 
your own very estab- 
lished kind of success?" 
Burns has been asked 
this question before. It is 
a question he believes is 
grounded in the notion of risk-taking 
and one that wrongly implies working 
within a successful framework is not 
risky. "Some people think I was crazy 
to try to cover the whole of the Civil 
War." he says. The same could be said 
of his other mammoth subjects: base- 
ball, for example, or the American 
West. Questions of his sanitv. however, 
do not deter him. "[In every project] I 
want to bite off more than I can chew 
and learn how to chew it." 

The late British actor Sir Tyrone 
Guthrie said it a little differently, and 
Burns has posted Guthrie's words on 
his office door: "We are looking for 
ideas large enough to be afraid of 
again." For Burns, this is the essence 

Ken Burns filming Thomas Jefferson. 




of risk. This is the guiding principal of 
an artist testing his limits while being 
true to content, holding fast to vision. 
"There is a presumption in our media 
culture that if you've done things well, 
you're obligated to change. It's the 
Britney Spears Madonna mentality," 
says Burns. "Don't you want to do 
something different? I don't have to 
French kiss somebody at an awards 
ceremony to be risky." 

Burns also notes that the majority' 
of his films have dealt with the issue 
of race in America. And although he 
doesn't say so directly, it is, of course, 
a subject that many might perceive as 
inherently risky, particularly for a 
white filmmaker. Burns' next film, 
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall 
of Jack Johnson, about the first African 
American heavyweight boxing cham- 
pion, is due out in early 2005. He sees 
making the film as a 
challenge, even, he 
adds, if "it doesn't have, 
perhaps, the telegenic 
appeal of Britney 
Spears and Madonna 
kissing." 

Burns emphasizes 
autonomy and personal 
truth when it comes to 
the art of filmmaking. 
"The important thing is to have a fierce 
independence, to compromise nothing 
for the content of the film," he says. "I 
have never compromised the content 
of a film. You have to be your own mas- 
ter." He does however concede that 
filmmaking can get complicated. "Not 
evervbodv who is drawn to film has 
something to say," says Burns. "The 
first step to successful filmmaking is to 
figure out in vour heart of hearts 
whether vou have something to saw" 
Then, he explains, if you do, if you truly 
do, "you must persevere [until you can 
present] what you have to say uncom- 
promised by the vicissitudes of life." D 

Rebecca Rule is a New Hampshire based 

writer, and the author of two collections of short 

stories. Her latest, The Best Revenge, will be 

out in paperback this spring. 



24 The Independent | May 2004 



field report 



Lost Angels 

WHERE IS THE INDIE SCENE IN BIG BAD LA? 
By Gadi Harel 



I could just be romanticizing it 
now that I've moved, but in New 
York all the filmmakers I knew 
seemed to be creating by any 
means necessary— from Super-8 
shorts to animation on their laptops 
while fundraising for a summer- 
shoot, to staging readings for a work- 
in-progress in between compiling doc- 
umentary footage. When I moved to 
Los Angeles last year, I found myself at 
a Honda dealership working out the 
details of my lease agreement with 
Amir, a fifty-year old Iranian who pre- 
ferred talking about his script for a 



bumper in his paperwork, which he 
asked me to initial. 

What crossed my mind during my 
drive home, in addition to thinking 
what a bizarre follow-up to The Pianist 
this was for Polanski, was if that's what 
this guy's up to, can there even be a real 
independent film scene in Los Angeles? 

* * * 
Q: What's the best part of being an 
independent filmmaker in Los 
Angeles? 
A: The weather. 

Ha ha. That's my new joke. And yet, 

three different filmmakers have 

recently given me that answer. But, 

>u see, thev were kiddinz— not 



scene than independent film commu- 
nities elsewhere." Where the two meet 
is a very fuzzy line with lots of over- 
lapping, and this offers at least one 
tremendous benefit. Filmmakers 
often need employment, and the stu- 
dios can provide jobs while also offer- 
ing tons of experience within, and 
about, The Industry. 

When Paul did time at Disney, he 
was well aware of the underground 
group of filmmakers on the lot, 
describing it as a sort of Fight Club. 
"If you're working as an assistant to a 
creative exec, you may not be too keen 
on letting the word out on the street 
you're a closet filmmaker working on 
the next mini-DV masterpiece," says 
Paul. "You keep it on the down low, 
siphon what you can from the studio 
in terms of connections, film stock, 
copies, and phone calls, and work 
toward your goals." One filmmaker I 




$70 million movie to discussing the 
details of my Honda Civic. Polanski 
was interested in directing, he told 
me, and it was looking likely that 
Amir would star, opposite Ben 
Affleck. When I went back for mainte- 
nance after my first 5,000 miles, Amir 
let me know that if they could just 
raise another fifteen mil, they could 
possibly get Brad to replace Ben. He 
then noted a scratch on my rear 



Left to right: Nick McCarthy and Paolo 
Davanzo of the Echo Park Film Center; 
filmmaker Patrick Hasson who moved 
to LA a few years ago; LA based film- 
maker Paul Tarantino. 



that I knew that. Before I could see 
how independent filmmakers benefit- 
ed from living in LA, before I could 
even understand "the scene," I first 
had to find it. It exists, it's just not that 
easy to define and therefore not that 
easy to recognize right away. 

As filmmaker Paul Tarantino (no 
relation to that other Tarantino, 
though, nevertheless, is currently fin- 
ishing up his supernatural thriller 
Headhunter) explains, this could be 
"because [the independent scene] is 
far more integrated into the studio 



spoke to works as an editor, another 
produces specials for cable, and one 
guy I met has done it all— VIP Tours at 
Warner Bros, a mailroom stint at 
Disney, employee store clerk at 
Universal, assisted a well-known 
actor's agent, and played a red ape in 
the Planet of the Apes remake. And this 
guy will actually be shooting his sec- 
ond feature this summer, which, from 
what I heard, sounds pretty fantastic. 
Another reason an independent 
film scene wasn't immediately obvious 
to me is that there isn't just one— there 
are (due to the enormity of this city) 



May 2004 | The Independent 25 




Where to Go 

If you're looking for a place to screen your 
work in LA. there's the Egyptian Theatre, 
home of the American Cinematheque 

(www.americancinematheque.com), which 
may be best known for its film series and ret- 
rospectives, but their Alternative Screen pro- 
gram offers filmmakers something special. 
Unlike film festivals, the Alternative Screen is 
always accepting submissions (of any 
length), and screens work throughout the 
year in the Egyptian, a renovated 1922 
Hollywood landmark and (after a $1 5 million 
refurbishing) state-of-the-art theater. 

The REDCAT art space/theater 
(www.redcat.org) is brand new to downtown 
LA. Don't be fooled 
by its presence at 
the Frank Gehry- 
designed Disney 
Concert Hall. Its 
function is to serve 
all the arts (and cof- 
fee) with an alterna- 
tive edge (and hazel- 
nut flavoring). They 
have some first-rate 
experimental films 
lined up, and their 
Monday night screen- 
ings and discus- 
sions are definitely worth checking out. 

LA also has the best video stores I've ever 
been to. The down-and-dirty Monde- Video 
a GoGo. specializing in the obscure, wel- 
comes any seemingly impossible requests; 
Vidiots. often listed as a city-favorite, feels 
like more than just a place to rent movies 
and, at least during the afternoon I visited. 
was full of customers enjoying themselves 
while discussing cinema and anything else 
around them; Rocket Video, which often 
hosts screenings and lectures, feels a lot like 
Kim's in New York, but with a smile. 

And finally, most of the filmmakers I spoke 
to were members of IFP/West 
(www.ifpwest.org). which continues to be an 
amazing source for everything-programs. 
events, advice, and support. But due to the 
size of this town. IFP/West may not truly be 
able to create the feel of a West Coast coali- 
tion of filmmakers. At the very least, you can 
easily meet others, share thoughts and 
ideas, see a few flicks, and if you're there at 
the right time, enjoy some free wine. And it 
helps, as Paul Tarantino advises, "if you're 
persistent and know what you want." 



several "scenes." like villages. One of 
these scenes, a particularly thriving 
one. is in Silver Lake (or the "East 
Side") and one of its key contributors 
is Nick McCarthy. When Nick moved 
here from Boston, he, too, thought he 
knew what it would be like, with the 
studio system creating an us-versus- 
them environment. "But there's a 
great entrepreneurial spirit about the 
place and it attracts artists from all dif- 
ferent backgrounds, many of whom 
are able to make a good living off the 
Hollywood machine." And of his job 
writing press material for a studio, 
Nick says, "It's the best job I've ever 
had because I have a lot of free time to 
make films. This is a situation that's 
much harder to have in New York." 

While continuing to make his own 
films. Nick also acts as one of the 
heads of * Alpha 60, a film collective he 
co-created that challenges members 
each month to make their own five- 
minute short. As he explains. "You're 
supposed to write a short script 
inspired by a word or phrase, and then 
trade in your script for someone else's 
and make a movie of it. You're given a 
month to make something and have a 
guaranteed screening, no matter what 
you end up with. It's like a self- 
imposed film boot camp." 

Over seventy-five filmmakers have 
bv now created hundreds of films 
through * Alpha 60, many of which 
were screened last September at the 
Silver Lake Film Festival (www.silver- 
lakefilmfestival.com). SLFF, currently 
in its fifth year, proudly sticks to 
showcasing the Silver Lake/East Side 
scene. Envoys of SLFF are quick to 
point out that before there was 
Hollywood there was the Silver Lake 
area, where past film pioneers (includ- 
ing DAW Griffith and Walt Disney) 
built homes and studios, and where, it 
is entirely possible, our future film 
pioneers currently reside. 

"Alpha 60's monthly screenings 
take place at the Echo Park Film 
Center (www.echoparkfilmcenter.org), 
a trulv remarkable and valuable 



resource, offering an intensive Super-8 
filmmaking class (S75 for adults and 
free for kids; digital formats and Final 
Cut courses coming soon), a terrific 
screening series, and sales/repair for 
all types of film equipment. If the cen- 
ter screens your submitted film, you 
actually get money from the door, and 
if you're a filmmaker on the road and 
stop in to speak and/or show your 
work, they'll not only give you fifty 
percent of the door, they'll find you a 
place to sleep. Not surprising that 
when I asked Nick McCarthy who 
inspired him. he was quick to say 
Paolo Davanzo, the center's director. 

So, you've had your camera repaired 
at the film center, honed your skills 
with a few months in * Alpha 60, and 
want to submit something new to 
SLFF in the fall. Time to make a movie. 
Still on the East Side, I turned to Silver 
Lake resident, Stefan Avalos. Stefan is 
one of the geniuses behind the break- 
through digital landmark The Last 
Broadcast, and his latest, The Ghosts of 
Edendale, is slated for video release this 
August. Having shot Edendale entirely 
in Silver Lake, Stefan brings a practical 
indie look at the shooting situation 
here in Los Angeles. 

"Whatever you need film-wise, it's 
here in LA. The coolest locations, 
props, tools, crews . . . You don't have 
to cobble things together," says 
Stefan. "The downside to being in the 
movie town as an indie is you can't use 
the novelty of movie making as a way 
to get certain things because here it 
isn't a novelty. All that aforemen- 
tioned convenience comes at a price. 
Here, everyone, and I mean everyone, 
is hip to the process. There is no cool 
factor to movie production and you're 
not likely to get a location for that 
reason. On the contrary, you probably 
have to get a permit. Every 'civilian' in 
town knows what a pain in the ass 
production can be, what it costs, how 
much they should get paid for letting 
you shoot in front of their house. I 
think the biggest downside to being a 
filmmaker in LA is finding exterior 



26 The Independent | May 2004 



locations for cheap. It's tough, so 
don't think you're going to find a 
storefront, or woods, or a field, where 
somebody doesn't want money, gener- 
ally a lot of it." 

Patrick Hasson (Waiting) moved to 
LA a few years ago and agrees with 
Stefan's take. "Living in close proxim- 
ity to Hollywood definitely has its 
advantages. It's amazing the pool of 
talent you can harness for a no-budg- 
et project with an ad on Craigslist. 
Plus, being so close to film companies, 
studios, and rental houses greatly 
increases the odds of cutting deals 
during production." While teaching 
filmmaking to middle-schoolers 
through a non-profit after-school pro- 
gram, as well as being a writer, direc- 
tor, and editor for hire, Patrick con- 
tinues to shoot his own movies— his 
short Dead Broke was invited to kick 
off Philly Fest this April. However, 
Patrick just relocated to Venice, the 
West Side, and I'm as curious as he is 
to see what he'll find there. "The flip 
side," he is sure to remind me, "is that 
the LA scene seems to be a somewhat 
faceless entity with no true epicenter 
and a lack of centralized community." 

For me, the West Side will have to 
wait. I'm going to explore the East Side 
a little longer. Next week I'm turning 
in my first five-page script at an 
*Alpha 60 meeting and will get anoth- 
er in return. The word-of-the-month is 
"phobic." And even though I still have 
another 800 miles to go before my next 
maintenance check-up, I know I'm 
going to pass the Honda lot on the way 
out to Silver Lake. Think I'll stop in 
and check up on Amir, see if he wants 
to come along. D 

Gadi Harel is a Los Angeles based writer 
and frfmmaker. 



*Alpha 60: www.alpha60films.com 

Silver Lake Film Festival: 

www.silverlakefilmfestival.com 

Filmmakers Alliance: 

www.filmmakersalliance.com 

IFP West: wuav.IFPWest.org 





Hello World Communications 



Rentals 

audio / video gear 
projectors 
cell phones 
walkie-talkies 
digital still cameras 
digital camcorders 



118 West 22nd Street 
New York City 10011 



Services 

online/offline editing 
DVD authoring 
video duplication 
color correction 
motion graphics 
production 



www.hwc.tv 
212.243.8800 



May 2004 | The Independent 27 



on the scene 



Grassroots Media 

BRAINSTORMING CREATIVE DEMOCRACY 
By Alyssa Worsham 



n response to increasing media 
conglomeration and the upcom- 
ing presidential election, the first 
NYC Grassroots Media 

Conference was held on February 27- 
29. 2004 at New York City's New 
School University. The conference fea- 
tured over fifty workshops and panels 
sponsored by more than forty local 
organizations, with topics ranging 
from video production to radical 
cheerleadin^. and from combatine 
institutional racism to using hip-hop 
as a means of social protest. Although 
participants could pick and choose, the 
seminars were arranged into three dif- 
ferent groupings: Polity. Historv and 
Media Advocacv: Do-Ir-Vourself Media; 



Denisse Andrade. outreach coordina- 
tor for Paper Tiger Television, which 
spearheaded the event. "We are trying 
to determine whether this could be an 
annual or biannual event. It reallv was 
a success— activists and media makers 
had a space to connect and strategize. 
and young people had a chance to 
learn from industry professionals. We 
started conversations, but we have to 
keep them up." 

According to Paper Tiger, the inspi- 
ration for the conference came from 
the FCC's highly publicized three to 
two vote to endorse six major media- 
ownership rule changes last year. In 
response, an unprecedented number 
of Americans called, faxed, and 




and Youth Media. In each group, par- 
ticipants were encouraged "to strate- 
gize on creative resistance and docu- 
mentation ot the flourishing protest 
movement against the Republican 
National Convention, which takes 
place in New York City this August." 

"We expected about 500 attendees, 
but about 1.000 registered." savs 



emailed the FCC and Congress to 
protest. Apparentlv. say Grassroots 
event organizers, people are starting 
to notice that the media is governed 
more and more by "commercial val- 
ues, rather than democratic ones." 
Paper Tiger was also able to rally a 
slew of independent media to their 
conference. Democracy Now!, The 



Independent. The Nation, AK Press, 
VMDI.org, and mam' other publica- 
tions and organizations served as 
benefactors, patrons, or sponsors, 
while the NYU Oppositional Media 
Coalition, Educational Video Center. 
New York City Indymedia. and the 
Global Action Project served on the 
organizing committee. 

The confetence kicked off at the 
Bowery Poetry Club with a Friday 
evening performance by Daniel 
Bernard Roumain, and a pirate pup- 
pet-show by Nick Jones and Raja Azar 
called "Jollyship. the Whizbang." The 
musical, though not as glitzy as last 
summer's Pirates of the Caribbean, was a 
perfect introduction to a weekend 
devoted to grassroots media— a subtle 
nod that big-budgets aren't essential 
for creating engaging and original 
works. For those who didn't stay out 
too late after Friday's entertainment, 
the opening plenary began Saturday 
at 10 a.m.. and then the workshops, 
seminars, and exhibitions continued 
late into Sunday afternoon. 

The largest group of panels was 
Policv. History and Media Advocacy, 
which offered seminars like "The 
History of Radical Media in NYC." 
"Shake Your Pom Poms In the Face of 
Oppression: Pom Pom Making and 
Cheerleading Workshop," and 
"Dealing with Corporate Media: Can 
Activists Use the Mainstream Media, 
Or Does It Only Use Us?" ART pre- 
sented a panel on how individuals can 
bring concerns to senators and repre- 
sentatives, and in an effort to further 
combat ongoing racism from all sides, 
two panels— "People of Color in the 
Media Movement: From 

Representation to Action." and 
"Looking at Racism and the Role of 
White Activists in the Alternative 
Media Movement"— met separately 
and then combined forces at the end 



A sign for the "Do It Yourself Radio 
Journalism" workshop; facing page: 
participants in a "Shake Your Pom Pom 
in the Face of Oppression" workshop. 



28 The Independent | May 2004 



to compare ideas and suggestions. 

The workshop on white activism, 
hosted by Jamie McClelland of Paper 
Tiger, focused primarily on the prob- 
lems of white privilege and ways in 
which to combat it within institutions 
and society at large. After coming up 
with working definitions of the terms, 
participants were divided into groups 
so they could effectively discuss the 
problems that might face media mak- 
ers today: "How are issues of racism 
addressed within your business?" or 
"How can white people cover or repre- 
sent people of color responsibly?" 
Reactions grew into conversations 
about affirmative action, the illusion 
of objectivity, and the trappings of 
language. While the problems of 
racism weren't solved in one morning, 
the lively discussions and the partici- 
pants' willingness to engage respect- 
fully with others boded well for future 
conversations about race, racism, and 
independent media. 

For the Do-It-Yourself portion of 
the conference, attendees could 
choose between workshops on 
webzine-making or starting an inter- 
net radio station, among others. Shira 
Golding of Medianghts.org hosted a 
workshop on film and video distribu- 
tion, exploring how to get a film "into 
the hearts and minds of people who 
will be motivated to take action," she 
says. While distribution is often one 
of the final steps for filmmakers, 
Golding encouraged participants to 
begin thinking about their potential 
audience long before picking up a 
camera, and to plan accordingly. 

While all of the workshops had 
their appeal, some of the most inter- 
esting ideas came from the Youth 
Media section. In "Online Journalism 
101," the teenage staff of the webzine 
Harlem Live instructed students on 
every aspect of production— from 
design and reporting to fundraising 
and administration. The "Politics of 
Youth and Youth Voting" seminar 
explored ways to get kids more 
involved, with the journalists of 



Children's Press Line leading the dis- 
cussion. Conference organizers must 
have been pleased with the high 
turnout, regardless of age, but the 
refreshing enthusiasm of the kids who 
participated was really intoxicating. 

Scenarios USA hosted a screenplay- 
writing workshop, encouraging teens 
to create stories based on their experi- 



Unfortunately, the short duration 
of the conference and the large variety 
of offerings made it impossible to 
attend all of the events of interest. In 
addition to the scheduled seminars, a 
series of films played on rotation in an 
open auditorium, while a youth 
lounge encouraged informal gather- 
ings all day. The "Times Squared 




ences with sexuality and the messages 
sent by popular media. Attendees 
might see some tangible results, as 
Scenarios is currently in the middle of 
their "What's the Real Deal" contest 
in New York City. The winner will get 
to have his or her script directed by an 
established filmmaker, and also assist 
in the production. Kristin Joiner, co- 
founder of Scenarios, Josh Lewis, "the 
improv guru," and Verena Faden, a 
former Scenarios winner, were the 
hosts. "The workshop was designed to 
get young people to think about their 
sexual choices through character and 
third person examination, rather than 
feeding them facts," savs Scenarios co- 

O J 

founder Maura Minsky. "Verena 
spoke very passionately about the 
project and what it meant to her life- 
she saw community college as her 
future, but through Scenarios she was 
able to work in film and get a scholar- 
ship to SVA [School of Visual Arts] in 
New York." 



Culture Jam and Bad Ad Exhibition" 
by Matt Pascarella featured hundreds 
of spoof ads and culture jams, and 
many of the sponsors set up an 
impromptu media fair with pam- 
phlets, t-shirts, magazines, and books 
for sale. But, says Andrade, the confer- 
ence is just the tip of the iceberg. "The 
NYC Grassroots Media website will 
stay up and serve as a way to continue 
the connections chat were established 
at the conference. For example, we 
made a space for people of color to 
engage with white activists. They 
started a dialogue, but that is only the 
beginning. The conference can't just 
be it. If you want to build a movement, 
there's a lot of work that needs to be 
done. We only just started." O 

For more information, see 
www.nycgrassrootsmedia.org or 
www.papertiger.org. 

Alyssa Worsham is ,; freelance writer m 
Neir York City. 



May 2004 | The Independent 29 



festival circuit 



Keeping it Real Weird 

AUSTIN'S SXSW FEST IS LIKE NO OTHER 
By Laura Nathan 



Long gone are the days when 
Austin. Texas was merely a 
breeding-ground for pro- 
gressive types, presidential 
hopefuls, and music junkies. As home 
to the South-by-South\vest Film 
Festival (SXSW). Austin has become 
the independent filmmaker's Eden. As 
first time filmmaker Allison Berg 
explains it. "'I thought [SXSW] was 
one of the best festivals for my film to 
get into ... I think you have maybe a 
more laid-back crowd, but a great 
attendance in getting vour film going. 
I think everyone applies to all the big 




ones, and I think this one. especially 
after last year, is getting right up 
there." 

In its eleventh year, SXSW is in the 
top five on Film Threat's Chris Gore's list 
or festivals where filmmakers and their 
films need to be seen. But unlike other 
more elite festivals. SXSWs reputation 
derives from its independent, friendly 
spint and its interest in catering to both 
first-time filmmakers and veterans. 
Industry veterans participate in panel 
discussions that offer aspiring and bur- 
geoning filmmakers like Yasuaki 
Nakajima advice on evervthing from 



film school to finding funding to the 
digital revolution. Meanwhile, SXSW 
helps "Keep Austin Weird'' by preserv- 
ing its creative, anti-corporate aura, and 
celebrating films that go where no film- 
maker (and, in many instances, no 
other festival) has gone before. 

For instance, in Nakajima's After the 
Apocalypse (for which he serves as 
writer/editor/producer/ director co- 
star). SXSW attendees were taken to a 
new realm of living. Featuring five 
characters' struggles to satiate their 
most basic needs after hazardous gases 
deprive them of their voices, this virtu- 
ally silent black-and-white 
film invites viewers to imag- 
ine what lite might look like 
if the contemporary prophe- 
cies of nuclear or chemical 
war came true. The world 
that the characters live in 
might not be pretty, but 
Nakajima's film beautifully 
captures human abilities to 
communicate even in the 
absence of speech. 

Similarly, Witches in Exile, 
a brilliant documentary 
directed by Berg, introduces 
viewers to a land and plight 
that seem as foreign to the film indus- 
try as the\' do to most Americans. 
Filmed in Northern Ghana, Witches 
teacures interviews with tour women 
who have been accused of witchcraft, 
banished from their homes, and sub- 
sequently sent to witch camps where 
they know no one. Winner of SXSWs 
Special Jury Award for a Documentary 
Feature, the film and its award are a 
testament to Berg's skill as a filmmak- 
er. SXSWs refusal to judge solely on 
either experience or subject matter, 
and the desire of the SXSW audience 
to be challenged and educated. 



This audience is, in fact, one of the 
primary reasons why Kris Lefcoe chose 
SXSW as the festival at which to pre- 
miere his film. Public Domain, a very 
smart satire of reality television shows. 
"SXSW seems like exactly my speed of 
festival . . . everyone is really cool. Austin 
and the audience here," she explained. 
" [Public Domain] is a very music-themed 
movie. Though the concept isn't about 
music. I think music fans will get a kick 
out of it." But like many other films 
screening at SXSW, that kick doesn't 
divorce the audience from questions 
about larger social issues. 

Like Public Domain, Morgan 
Spurlock's hilarious but disconcert- 
ing film, Super Size Me, found its per- 
fect match in an audience committed 
to keeping Austin weird by preventing 
corporate colonization of the city's 
independent spirit. Divulging what 
happened when an otherwise healthy 
Spurlock ate nothing but 
McDonald's food three times a day 
for one month, Super Size Me screened 
at Austin's Paramount Theater before 
1.200 viewers. 

While both Berg and Spurlock's 
publicist, Nicolette Aizenberg, likened 
the energy level at Super Size Afe's first 
screening in "the live music capital of 
the world" to that of a rock concert, 
Austin lived up to its name several 
other times during SXSW. That is. 
SXSW featured an abundance of high- 
Iv acclaimed music documentaries, 
which explored genres such as pop, 
blues, and hip-hop. Topping this list 
was George Hickenlooper's Mayor of 
the Sunset Strip, which uses pop impre- 
sario Rodney Bingenheimer and his 
friends (ranging from David Bowie to 
the band No Doubt) as a case study to 
critique the role that fame and celebri- 
ty play in Western culture. Leaving his 
Austin audience deep m awe and con- 
templation. Hickenlooper ensured 
that music and film tans alike had 
something to chew on for some rime 
to come. 

The same could be said for the vast 
arrav of political documentaries that 



30 The Independent | May 2004 



only election year fervor could pro- 
duce. While well-made, inspiring doc- 
umentaries like Shola Lynch's Chisolm 
'72 and Jonathan Demme's The 
Agronomist transcended time and 
geography, the most highly anticipat- 
ed political documentary proved to be 
Bush's Brain, which made its premiere 
at SXSW. Based on James C. Moore 
and Wayne Slater's book of the same 
title, the film provides critical insight 
on the political career that seems to be 
at the fore of everyone's mind: that of 
George W. Bush and his puppeteer 
Karl Rove. 

Though troubled and contempla- 
tive about what they learned about 
Rove and Bush, the bipartisan audi- 
ence seemed to be overwhelmingly 
impressed, even amused, by the docu- 
mentary and its producers— Elizabeth 
Reeder, Joseph Mealey, and M